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Counting: The Cardinal Numbers

Spanish for Beginners


Sculpture of the number seven.

El número siete. (The number seven.)

Photo by Losmininos, licensed via Creative Commons.

Although Spanish numbers can be memorized in a straightforward way, their use can be confusing for persons new to Spanish. Numbers made up of more than one part are often formed differently than they are in English, and some Spanish numbers change according to the gender of the nouns they apply to.

Following are the basic Spanish numbers and patterns in which they are formed. Those that are in italics are forms that change according to gender, while the non-italic forms are fixed.

  • 1. uno
    2. dos
    3. tres
    4. cuatro
    5. cinco
    6. seis
    7. siete
    8. ocho
    9. nueve
    10. diez
    11. once
    12. doce
    13. trece
    14. catorce
    15. quince
    16. dieciséis
    17. diecisiete
    18. dieciocho
    19. diecinueve
    20. veinte
    21. veintiuno
    22. veintidós
    23. veintitrés
    24. veinticuatro
    25. veinticinco
    26. veintiséis
    27. veintisiete
    28. veintiocho
    29. veintinueve
    30. treinta
    31. treinta y uno
    32. treinta y dos
    33. treinta y tres
    40. cuarenta
    41. cuarenta y uno
    42. cuarenta y dos
    50. cincuenta
    60. sesenta
    70. setenta
    80. ochenta
    90. noventa
    100. ciento (cien)
    101. ciento uno
    102. ciento dos
    103. ciento tres
    110. ciento diez
    199. ciento noventa y nueve
    200. doscientos
    201. doscientos uno
    202. doscientos dos
    203. doscientos tres
    251. doscientos cincuenta y uno
    252. doscientos cincuenta y dos
    300. trescientos
    400. cuatrocientos
    500. quinientos
    600. seiscientos
    700. setecientos
    800. ochocientos
    900. novecientos
    1.000. mil
    2.000. dos mil
    3.000. tres mil
    3.333. tres mil trescientos treinta y tres
    1.000.000. un millón mil millones

Shortening uno and ciento: Uno and numbers ending in -uno are shortened to un when they immediately precede a masculine noun. When standing alone (that is, being 100 exactly) ciento is shortened to cien before preceding a noun of either gender; the longer form is used within longer numbers (except when preceding mil).

  • Examples: un lápiz (1 pencil), una pluma (1 pen), cincuenta y un lápices (51 pencils), cincuenta y una plumas (51 pens), cien lápices (100 pencils), cien plumas (100 pens), ciento tres lápices (103 pencils), ciento tres plumas (103 pens), cien mil lápices (100,000 pencils), cien mil plumas (100,000 pens)

Gender: As indicated above, the italicized portions of numbers vary according to gender. When a number ends in -uno ("one"), the form -un is used before masculine nouns, and -una before feminine nouns. The uno form is used only in counting. Accent marks are used where needed to maintain the correct pronunciation. The hundreds portions of numbers change in gender even when other parts of the number intervene before the noun.

  • Examples: un coche (1 car), una casa (1 house), veintiún coches (21 cars), veintiuna casas (21 houses), doscientos coches (200 cars), doscientas casas (200 houses), doscientos dos coches (202 cars), doscientas dos casas (202 houses).

Punctuation: In most of the Spanish-speaking world, periods and commas within numbers are reversed from what they are in U.S. English. Thus in Spain 1.234,567 would be the way of writing mil doscientos treinta y cuatro coma quinientos sesenta y siete, or what would be written in the United States as 1,234.567. In Mexico, Central America and Puerto Rico, numbers usually are punctuated as they are in the United States.

One hundred: The dictionary listing for the number 100 is normally ciento. However, when counting out loud, the form cien usually is used.

Related Video
Learn the Ordinal Numbers in Spanish
How to Count in Spanish
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