Why should you learn common numbers in Spanish early on in your language learning process? The answer is primarily because it’s simply impossible to learn Spanish without having a basic grasp of numeros (that’s the word for numbers in Spanish).
If someone told you a roundtrip airline ticket to Mexico cost tres mil, would you know what that meant? You can always rely on your fingers to do the math and deploy the universal language of pointing whilst gesticulating as much as you possibly can. But being able understand common words like “mil” — which means one thousand — will make your experience that much better.
But knowing how to say and write the numbers in Spanish will enable you to communicate in a more efficient way, conversing confidently and saving you from the entirely awkward moment of misunderstanding.
We’ll start from cero (that’s zero) and work up to un millón (one million) to have you counting in Spanish like a pro in no time.
Firstly, Spanish is ranked as one of the easier languages to learn for native English speakers, according to a language difficulty ranking chart created by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute’s School of Language Studies.
With a dedicated effort, it should take about 24 weeks for an American, a Brit, or an Aussie to achieve a professional level of proficiency in Spanish.
Secondly, Spanish is a phonetic language, meaning that if you can sound out the individual letters you can pronounce the words (even if you don´t know what they mean!).
Therefore, once you´ve learned the alphabet you are capable of reading almost everything. Luckily, Spanish and English are written with the same Latin alphabet, with the additional –Ññ letter!
Finally, needless to say, numbers are a key piece of knowledge, especially in business environments, but even as a simple and innocent tourist, you don’t want either to get your theater ticket seat numbers wrong or to be ripped off at the market.
Ordering food, booking a table or a hotel room, getting a telephone number or finding the right address, figures are truly essential bits of information. That is why we recommend you put the effort in memorizing them!
How to count in Spanish? Let’s make a start with the cardinal numbers noting the basic digits from zero to ten.
If you already speak Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, or French, you may notices similarities in the numbers in Spanish, both written and spoken.
This is because each of these languages belong to the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family and are developed from Vulgar Latin.
Now, observe the –ce ending pattern from eleven to fifteen as well as the prefix –die (derived from –diez) from sixteen to nineteen, meaning ‘ten plus’ the following numeral.
From twenty to thirty figures are also written as one word:
However, from thirty one to ninety nine numbers are written as two words using the conjunction –y, which means ‘and’, denoting an obvious mathematical addition.
For example thirty-two is –treinta y dos in Spanish, which literally translates to ‘thirty and two units’.
Here are Spanish numbers 1-100 in multiples of ten:
If you pay attention closely you may find some handy clues that will ease the process of counting in Spanish:
These are the multiples of one hundred in Spanish:
And the multiples of one thousand in Spanish:
When using number one please note that it changes to equal the gender of the noun that it is describing. For example:
Un cafe por favor.
Mesa para uno por favor.
Una cerveza por favor.
This rule also applies to multiples of one hundred, particularly when referring to amounts from two hundred (doscientas cervezas) to nine hundred (novecientas cervezas).
First, second, third… Ordinal numbers are also important to be learned by heart. Spot how they are formed using the basic digits and observe how feminine and masculine are also applied fittingly.
From eleventh to twentieth:
Spanish ordinal numbers for multiples of ten:
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world and the most common foreign language in the United States of America. So imagine how many opportunities you will have to practice counting in Spanish.! If you are well-traveled, the possibilities are endless!
Spanish is spoken over 30 countries on our lovely blue planet. You can check this awesome graphic about world languages published in the South China Morning Post to see which Spanish speaking territories you fancy visiting the most.
And if you really want to up your language game sign up today for our FREE Spanish Survival Crash Course, where you’ll get learning guides and audios right to your inbox:
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