The Numbers in Spanish

Spanish Vocabulary

In Spanish there are two types of numbers:

Números cardinales - Cardinal Numbers
- 1 (uno), 2 (dos) etc. which are used for counting and showing the quantity of something

Números ordinales - Ordinal Numbers
- 1º (primero), 2º (segundo) etc. which are used to give the order or sequence of numbers

Cardinal Numbers in Spanish

Cardinal numbers are used in Spanish for:

Counting things:

Saying how old someone is:

Notice how in Spanish you use the verb TENER when you are giving your age.

Giving a date in Spanish

Unlike in English were ordinal numbers are used, in Spanish you use cardinal numbers when giving a date EXCEPT when we talk about the first day of the month (see ordinal numbers further below).

Giving a telephone number in Spanish:

When you are giving telephone numbers in Spanish you have two options. First is to say each number one by one (dos - dos - seis - tres - cuatro - ocho - uno - cinco; 2-2-6-3-4-8-1-5) or you can group the numbers in pairs (veintidós, sesenta y tres, cuarenta y ocho, quince; 22 63 48 15)

Speaking about a specific year:

Notice how in Spanish you don't divide the year into two parts like in English. You say the year as one long number. Ejemplo: Mil novecientos setenta y dos (1972); Dos mil ocho (2008).

List of Cardinal Numbers in Spanish


The difference between Cien and Ciento

A) We use cien when we refer to the exact number 100. Cien = 100

B) We use ciento when we refer to numbers that include 100 in it (101, 102, etc.)

Remember that "y" (and) is used between the tens and the units, not after the hundreds as in English.

Numbers in Spanish Chart

TEACHERS: We have a printable version of this chart that you can use in your classroom: Spanish numbers 1-100 chart

Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

Ordinal numbers must agree with the nouns they refer to in both number and gender when they are used as adjectives:

When primero (1º) and tercero (3º) are placed before a singular masculine noun, the final -o is dropped:

Cardinal numbers over 10 are not commonly used and there is usually a way to avoid saying them.

For example with "It's his 21st birthday" you will normally hear "El cumple veintiún años" (He turned 21)

We use ordinal numbers in Spanish to:

Give the first day of the month:

The rest of the days use cardinal numbers (see the section above on cardinal numbers).

Put things in a sequence or show their order:

Say on which floor something is in a building:

Say the version of something:

List of Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

Large Numbers in Spanish

Large numbers are generally divided into groups of threes (thousands) to make them easier to read. However they must be separated with points (or dots) and not commas.

7000000 (siete millones) is written as 7.000.000 (notice the dots instead of the commas)
9.876.543 = nueve millones, ochocientos setenta y seis mil, quinientos cuarenta y tres.

Fractions and Decimales in Spanish

We use números fraccionarios (fractions) and decimales (decimals) to talk about numbers that are less than one or to show how something is divided.

With larger numbers we use "y" to separate the whole numbers from the fractions.
For example: 2 3/5 = dos y tres quintos.

If we want to show a number with decimals, we need to show those decimal numbers after a comma.
Whole number + , (comma) + decimals.
For example: 3 1/2 (tres y medio) = 3,5 (tres coma cinco)

If the number after the comma has more than one digit, then we say each of those numbers individually.
For example: 3.456,789 = tres mil cuatrocientos cincuenta y seis coma setecientos ochenta y nueve.

1.234.567,891 (in Spanish) = 1,234,567.891 (in English)

When we talk about dollars and cents, they are joined by the preposition con (with) or the conjunction y (and).
For example: $21,95 = veintiún dólares con noventa y cinco centavos OR veintiún dólares y noventa y cinco centavos

Next Activities

Try our interactive games to practise numbers in Spanish:
Los Números 1-100 - Numbers 1-100
Los Números - Numbers (big ones)

OR see our notes written in Spanish about Los Números.

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Spanish Verb Lists

A list of common verbs in Spanish with their conjugation in different tenses and example sentences. There are also interactive games to practice each verb.


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