# Cantonese/Numbers

## Cardinal Numbers

### General Rules

In Cantonese, numbers can be interpreted as a series of digits. From decimal to ten-thousandfold, each digit has a corresponding character. To read out the number, read the number of the value of the digit followed by the value of the digit. For example, the number four-hundred and seventy-nine (479) has three digits: four hundreds (四百, read as sei-bāak), seven tens (七十, read as chāt-sahp) and nine (九, read as gáu). The number is written as 四百七十九 and is read as sei-bāak-chāt-sahp-gáu. The word "and" in "four-hundred and seventy-nine" is omitted.

Any digit in zero followed by a digit which is not zero is replaced by the character 零 (read as lìhng). For example, the number one-thousand and one (1001) is read as yāt-cin-lìhng-yāt.

The number eleven (11) is literally one-ten and one but the character "one" in "one ten" is usually omitted. The same case applies to twelve to nineteen.

The number two sometimes becomes 兩 (read as loeng) rather than 二 (read as yih). Examples include:

• 兩性 loeng-sing the two sexes
• 兩文三語 loeng-man-sāam-jyu two written languages and three spoken languages
• 一國兩制 yāt-gwok-loeng-zai one country two systems

Generally, two is 兩 when:

• it is used for counting (e.g. two apples, two people, two houses)
• it precedes units more than or equal to a thousand

two is 二 in:

• certain set expressions (such as idioms)
• numbers less than or equal to a thousand

### One through Ten

• 〇 (零) lìhng zero 0
• 一 (壹) yāt one 1
• 二 (貳) yih two 2
• 三 (叁) sāam three 3
• 四 (肆) sei four 4
• 五 (伍) ng five 5
• 六 (陸) luhk six 6
• 七 (柒) chāt seven 7
• 八 (捌) baat eight 8
• 九 (玖) gáu nine 9
• 十 (拾) sahp ten 10

Parenthesized entries are the complex forms, which are used mainly in notarized, official documents. An exception is zero wherein the complex form is more widely used.

### Tens, Hundreds, Thousands, Etc.

• 十一 sahp-yāt eleven 11
• 十二 sahp-yih twelve 12
• 十三 sahp-sāam thirteen 13

• 二十一 yih-sahp-yāt twenty-one 21
• 二十二 yih-sahp-yih twenty-two 22
• 二十三 yih-sahp-sāam twenty-three 23

• 一百 yāt-bāak one-hundred 100
• 一百零八 yāt-bāak-lìhng-baat one-hundred and eight 108
• 一百六十六 yāt-bāak-luhk-sahp-luhk one-hundred and sixty-six 166
• 二百三十 yih-bāak-sāam-sahp two-hundred and thirty

• 一千 yāt-cin one-thousand 1,000
• 七千二百一十三 chāt-cin-yih-bāak-yāt-sahp-sāam seven thousand two hundred and thirteen 7,213

• 一萬 yāt-maan one myriad or ten-thousand 10,000
• 四萬三千 sei-maan-sāam-cin forty-three thousand 43,000

• 十萬 sahp-maan one-hundred thousand 100,000
• 九十六萬八千二百七十四 gáu-sahp-luhk-maan-baat-cin-yih-bāak-chāt-sahp-sei nine hundred and sixty-eight thousand two hundred and seventy-four 968,274

• 一百萬 yāt-bāak-maan one million 1,000,000
• 六百七十八萬二千 luhk-bāak-chāt-sahp-baat-maan-yih-cin six-million seven-hundred and eighty-two thousand 6,782,000

## Ordinal Numbers

To show the position of something in a list of items, simply add the word 第 (read as dai) before the number.

• 第一 dai-yāt the first
• 第十一 dai-sahp-yāt the eleventh
• 第四百八十九 dai-sei-bāak-baat-sahp-gáu the 489th
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