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

For 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

From this point, we just need 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 is 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.