# Cantonese/Numbers

## Cardinal Numbers

[edit | edit source]### General Rules

[edit | edit source]In Cantonese, numbers can be interpreted as a series of digits. From tens to ten-thousands, 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-baak), *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-baak-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-chīn-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 léuhng) rather than 二 (read as yih). Examples include:

- 兩性 léuhng-sing
*the two sexes* - 兩文三語 léuhng-man-sāam-yu
*two written languages and three spoken languages* - 一國兩制 yāt-gwok-léuhng-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

[edit | edit source]- 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) ńgh
*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.

[edit | edit source]- 十一 sahp-yāt
*eleven*11 - 十二 sahp-yih
*twelve*12 - 十三 sahp-sāam
*thirteen*13

等等 etc.

- 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

等等 etc.

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

等等 etc.

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

等等 etc.

- 一萬 yāt-maahn
*one myriad*or*ten-thousand*10,000 - 四萬三千 sei-maahn-sāam-chīn
*forty-three thousand*43,000

等等 etc.

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

等等 etc.

- 一百萬 yāt-baak-maahn
*one million*1,000,000 - 六百七十八萬二千 luhk-baak-chāt-sahp-baat-maahn-yih-chīn
*six-million seven-hundred and eighty-two thousand*6,782,000

等等 etc.

## Ordinal Numbers

[edit | edit source]To show the position of something in a list of items, simply add the word 第 (read as daih) before the number.

- 第一 daih-yāt
*the first* - 第十一 daih-sahp-yāt
*the eleventh* - 第四百八十九 daih-sei-baak-baat-sahp-gáu
*the 489th*