Spanish Counts, Pt.2: Tens, Hundreds, and Thousands
In this article, you’ll read the rules of forming Spanish numbers from 31 to 100 and beyond up to thousands! Ready? Then let us begin our countdown (well, actually it will be a count-up, but who would mind?)
So, these are all the tens. To form the numbers in between the tens, rely on the structure “X and Y”. E.g.:
- 32 – treinta y dos
- 43 – cuarenta y tres
- 54 – cincuenta y cuatro
- 65 – sesenta y cinco
- 76 – setenta y seis
- 87 – ochenta y siete
- 98 – noventa y ocho
Have you noticed which ten is missing? That’s right, it’s twenty! And it fails to conform to the common “X and Y” rule to a T. You can learn how to count from 20 to 30 in Spanish from this article!
Let’s cross the one hundred border and see what is going on there.
As you can see, the names of hundreds are formed following an easy pattern:
- number + the Spanish for “hundred” – ciento – in plural.
There are exceptions, though (we can’t do without them, obviously):
- The Spanish word for “five hundred” uses the root from number 15 (quince) and loses the letter C from cientos. We don’t think we can explain that in a reasonable way, so let’s say it is historical.
- The Spanish word for 900 (novecientos) contains an O in place of the UE that the word nueve is supposed to have. But you have already come across this vowel change in the Spanish word for 90 (noventa), so it is not a big surprise.
Counting from even hundreds and up will be a bit tricky because it neither follows the previously set Spanish formula nor can be compared to the English one. You simply put two numbers together, without any "and" in the middle. E.g.:
- 101 – ciento uno
- 202 – doscientos dos
- 303 – trescientos tres, etc.
When the addition rises beyond ten, an y appears, but only in tens; there is still nothing between the hundred and the ten. E.g.:
- 451 – cuatrocientos cincuenta y uno
- 876 – ochocientos setenta y seis
- 985 – novecientos ochenta y cinco
If you are not just counting but saying that there are over a hundred of some things, make sure that you match the gender of the number with that of the noun, just like for number 1. Don’t remember such a thing? Brush up on the rule with the help of this article. So, here are a few examples of matching the gender of hundreds to that of a noun:
- 400 handkerchiefs – cuatrocientos pañuelos
- 600 folders – seiscientas carpetas
Now, a tricky one: what is the Spanish for 721 pages?
The trick is that you have to match the gender of all the digits that have a gender to that of the noun. So, the Spanish for 721 pages will be
- setecientas veintiuna páginas
Note: to say that there is exactly one hundred of something, toss the -to and simply use cien. E.g.:
- 100 years of solitude – cien años de soledad
Speaking about thousands, they follow some of the easiest rules:
- Say how many thousands it is exactly by simply adding the number before the word mil: 15,000 – quince mil (no plural!)
- Do not use “y” between thousands and hundreds: 42,100 – cuarenta y dos mil ciento
There is one more thing to mention before we pass on to the quiz. DO NOT use a comma to separate thousands from hundreds. In Spanish, the comma has swapped places with the point: the comma is used in decimal fractions while the point separates thousands from hundreds. E.g.: English 5,791.16 is Spanish 5.791,16
And now, the quiz! Rack your brains with these half-math half-language questions!