# 3.7.11: Structure of numbers

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Chinese handles numbers in a very consistent and logical way. Once you've mastered just a few tricky parts, you will know how to read out any number in Chinese.

## One to One Hundred

### Structure for the First Ten

You just have to memorize these ten; nothing tricky there.

Numeral Character Pinyin
1
2 èr
3 sān
4
5
6 liù
7
8
9 jiǔ
10 shí

### Phone Numbers

Like in American English, Chinese phone numbers are given as a string of individual numbers, using the digits 0-9. The only trick is that the number 1 is often pronounced "yāo" instead of "yī" to avoid confusion with number 7, which is pronounced "qī."

• 110Number for the police in the PRCyāo yāo líng
• 120Number for an ambulance in the PRCyāo èr líng
• 119Number to report a fire in the PRCyāo yāo jiǔ
• 13501200120Cell phone numbers are 11 digits in the PRCyāo sān wǔ, líng yāo èr líng, líng yāo èr líng

### Structure for Teens

Eleven, twelve and the teens are handled very logically. They're formed with 十 (shí) followed by a digit 一 (yī) to 九 (jiǔ). So eleven is 十一 (shíyī), twelve is 十二 (shí'èr), thirteen is 十三 (shísān), and so on up to nineteen, which is 十九 (shíjiǔ).

Numeral Character Pinyin
11 十一 shíyī
12 十二 shí'èr
13 十三 shísān
14 十四 shísì
15 十五 shíwǔ
16 十六 shíliù
17 十七 shíqī
18 十八 shíbā
19 十九 shíjiǔ

### Structure for Tens

All the tens are also formed very logically. Twenty is 二十 (èrshí), thirty is 三十 (sānshí), and so on. Units in the tens are simply added on the end. So twenty one is 二十一 (èrshí-yī), thirty four is 三十四 (sānshí-sì), and ninety-nine is 九十九 (jiǔshí-jiǔ). All very logical and consistent.

x + 十

x + 十 + y

### Examples

Numeral Character Pinyin
20 二十 èrshí
23 二十三 èrshí-sān
30 三十 sānshí
39 三十九 sānshí-jiǔ
40 四十 sìshí
44 四十四 sìshí-sì
50 五十 wǔshí
73 七十三 qīshí-sān
82 八十二 bāshí-èr
97 九十七 jiǔshí-qī

And one hundred is simply 一百 (yībǎi), as in English. So you now know how to count to one hundred in Chinese.

## After One Hundred

### Dealing with Zeroes

Note: when there's a "0" in the middle of a number, you read it as 零 (líng), and don't put a unit (like "ten" or "hundred") after it. In the following examples, we'll show what happens when the "tens" place is a zero in a three-digit number.

x + 百 + 零 + y

#### Examples

Numeral Character Pinyin
101 一百零一 yībǎi líng yī
202 二百零二 èrbǎi líng èr
206 二百零六 èrbǎi líng liù
305 三百零五 sānbǎi líng wǔ
407 四百零七 sìbǎi líng qī
504 五百零四 wǔbǎi líng sì
602 六百零二 liùbǎi líng èr
701 七百零一 qībǎi líng yī
803 八百零三 bābǎi líng sān
909 九百零九 jiǔbǎi líng jiǔ

### For Numbers 110 and Greater

For numbers greater than 100, if the number ends in zero (110, 230, 370, 450, etc.), a number like 150 can be read as 一百五十 (yībǎi wǔshí), but is often read as 一百五 (yībǎi wǔ). In fact, reading it as 一百五 (yībǎi wǔ) always means 150, never 105. As described above, 105 would be read as 一百零五 (yībǎi líng wǔ).

For numbers greater than 100 that end in a number in the teens, it's normal to pronounce the ten as "yīshí" rather than just "shí" (see the examples below).

Also, sometimes the number "200" is read as 二百 (èrbǎi), but often it is read as 两百 (liǎngbǎi). Both are OK. (This is an 二 (èr) vs. 两 (liǎng) issue which you may or may not have encountered before.)

#### Structure

x + 百 + y + 十 + z

#### Examples

Numeral Character Pinyin
110 一百一十 yībǎi yīshí
111 一百一十一 yībǎi yīshí-yī
210 二百一十 èrbǎi yīshí
350 三百五十 sānbǎi wǔshí
480 四百八十 sìbǎi bāshí
550 五百五十 wǔbǎi wǔshí
635 六百三十五 liùbǎi sānshí-wǔ
777 七百七十七 qībǎi qīshí-qī
832 八百三十二 bābǎi sānshí-èr
999 九百九十九 jiǔbǎi jiǔshí-jiǔ

## After One Thousand

### Examples

Numeral Character Pinyin
1001 一千零一 yīqiān líng yī
1010 一千零一十 yīqiān líng yīshí
1019 一千零一十九 yīqiān líng yīshí-jiǔ
1020 一千零二十 yīqiān líng èrshí
1100 一千一百 yīqiān yībǎi
1101 一千一百零一 yīqiān yībǎi líng yī
1234 一千二百三十四 yīqiān èrbǎi sānshí-sì
2345 两千三百四十五 liǎngqiān sānbǎi sìshí-wǔ
8765 八千七百六十五 bāqiān qībǎi liùshí-wǔ
9999 九千九百九十九 jiǔqiān jiǔbǎi jiǔshí-jiǔ

## 10,000 and beyond

Things get a little trickier once you get to 10,000. If you're ready for it, you can move on to big numbers.