"and" in numerical expressions

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Tue May 12 18:31:25 UTC 2009

i've been working on a posting for Language Log on "and" in numerical
expressions, making the point that there are contexts in which One
Right Way is inapplicable here (that is, contexts where "and" and zero
are both acceptable, and in fact truth-functionally equivalent).  this
is intended as posting two in the "making distinctions" series, which
began with:

as in our previous foray into this topic, the postings here have been
all over the map, with all sorts of numerical expressions discussed,
in a number of different contexts, and with people reporting very
different experiences with the variation between things like "one
hundred two" and "one hundred two" when the expressions are used as
determiners.  usage guides seem to be silent on the question, and both
variants are easily found in the speech of the educated and in "good
writing" (when the numbers are written out in words).

entertainingly, there are circumstances in which "and" in such
expressions is not only acceptable, but required.  the title of the
"Arabian Nights" story collection is sometimes given as "1001 Nights",
but as far as i know this is always read as "A Thousand and One
Nights", never as "A Thousand One Nights", and when the digits are
written out as words, you get an "and", as in:

Stories from the Thousand and One Nights
Translated by Edward William Lane
Revised by Stanley Lane-Poole

in a somewhat less elevated context, there's the book "The 101
Dalmatians" by Dodie Smith.  as far as i know, the title is always
read with "hundred and one", never with "hundred one".  the sequel,
"Starlight Barking", begins:

   Not long ago there lived in Suffolk a hundred and one Dalmatians
whose adventures had once thrilled all the ... [note the "and"]

the first book then got made into a animated Walt Disney version
(1961), under the title "One Hundred and One Dalmatians" [note the
"and"].  the imdb at
tells us that the movie is also known as "101 Dalmatians" (alternative
spelling).  then there was a 1996 live-action remake entitled "101
Dalmatians" (so spelled).  again, so far as i know, "101" in these
titles is always read with the "and".

there are probably more examples like these.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list