Word form

Word form is one way in which the concept of numbers can be written. Other forms include standard and expanded form. Word form involves expressing numbers using words rather than numerals. Below are a few examples of numbers written in word form.

How to write numbers in word form

We can write all types of numbers, such as integers, fractions, and decimal numbers, in word form.


Recall that integers are the set of all positive and negative whole numbers including 0. For the smaller numbers, like 1-20 we just need to remember what the numbers are called.

1 - one 11 - eleven
2 - two 12 - twelve
3 - three 13 - thirteen
4 - four 14 - fourteen
5 - five 15 - fifteen
6 - six 16 - sixteen
7 - seven 17 - seventeen
8 - eight 18 - eighteen
9 - nine 19 - nineteen
10 - ten 20 - twenty

Note that any negative number is written in word form in the same way except that the word "negative" is written in front. Once we know how to write each of the above numbers in word form, the next step is to remember what every 10 numbers is referred to:

10 - ten
20 - twenty
30 - thirty
40 - forty
50 - fifty
60 - sixty
70 - seventy
80 - eighty
90 - ninety

Numbers that include both tens and ones are hyphenated. For example, 21 is written as twenty-one, 39 is written as thirty-nine, and so on.

Writing larger numbers in word form requires an understanding of place value and periods. Below is a figure showing the place values and periods through the billions.

The numbers described above fall within the ones period and involve ones, tens, and hundreds. The next period is the thousands, which also includes ones (thousand), tens (ten thousand), and hundreds (hundred thousands). This pattern continues for all the larger numbers (the smaller ones as well, if there are decimal places). To write a given number in word form, identify the largest place value, write each number as we would in the ones place based on hundreds, tens, and ones, then write which period the digits fit into, whether it be millions, thousands, etc., but excluding the ones. Repeat this process from left to right.


Use the place value chart to write the following number in word form.

There are 4 periods in the above number: billions, millions, thousands, and ones. We can separate each period with commas, as we would with numerals. Write out the word form of the three digits in each period, then add the respective period name after each, except for the ones period. Attempt this before reading the solution below.

The word form of the above number is:

Two hundred forty-nine billion, five hundred fifty-one million, six hundred seventy-two thousand, four hundred eighty-six.

Decimal numbers

Decimal numbers are written in word form in a similar way as integers. One key difference is the addition of the decimal point, which is written as "and." The numbers after the decimal point are written in the same way as any integer, except that the last digit in the number is hyphenated, and the place value of the digit is written after the hyphen. For example, the decimal number 123.123 is written in word form as "One hundred twenty-three and one hundred twenty-three-thousandths."

The table below shows the name of each place based on the place value of the number 1:

Decimal Place value
0.1 tenths
0.01 hundredths
0.001 thousandths
0.0001 ten-thousandths
0.00001 hundred-thousandths
0.000001 millionths
0.0000001 ten-millionth
0.00000001 hundred-millionth
0.000000001 billionth

Thus, to write any decimal number:


The rules for writing fractions in word form are not as consistent as those for writing a decimal number, so instead of set rules, below are a few examples of the word forms of various fractions, as well as some general rules that apply to many fractions.

Generally, aside from exceptions, such as the word form of ½ being "one half" not "one second," the rules below can be used to write the word form of most fractions.

  1. Write the word form of the integer in the numerator.
  2. Write the denominator in its ordinal number form.