"and" in numerical expressions (UNCLASSIFIED)
mcclay at TAOLODGE.COM
Thu May 14 09:09:46 UTC 2009
One Hundred and One Dalmatians
>From the Wikipedia:
101 (one hundred [and] one) is the natural number following 100 and
preceding 102. It is variously pronounced "one/a hundred and one", "one/a
hundred one", and "one oh one".
And this is interesting:
A numerical controversy
compiled by Nan Swift, AIR staff
(* Thanks to investigator Willa Bandler for suggesting the title.)
The great 101 controversy was launched in the July 2001 issue of mini-AIR.
A celebrated mathematics professor of our acquaintance asked for help with
the following dilemma:
A woman called the math department earlier this year. Her son is in
The first grade teacher said her son was counting wrong. How is 101
pronounced -- "one hundred one" or "one hundred and one"?
The teacher told the woman to call any mathematician to find out the
proper way to say it. I don't know the answer
Below are some of the more and less salient answers sent in by mini-AIR
Depends on how you are using it. If you have 101 buttons, it's one hundred
and one buttons. But, if you have 101 dollars, it's one hundred one
--Melissa R. Hawkins
THE NEW ZEALAND / DE SOTO SOLUTION
According to the revered mathematician Ms De Soto, who taught me 7th grade
mathematics [in New Zealand], the correct answer is 'one hundred one'. A
true mathematician, according to the De Soto School of Pronunciation,
never inserts an 'and' into a number. Using an 'and' is a serious faux
pas, punishable by Ms. De Soto rolling her eyes, emitting a loud sigh of
exasperation, and refusing to comprehend the number until it is pronounced
without the 'and'.
--Sally Jo Cunningham
OLD FOLKS' VIEW
My preference is for "one hundred and one" but I can't say I have a divine
mandate for that. Once that's settled, let's work out if he's counting
"wrong" or counting "wrongly."
OLD FOLKS' VIEW
When I went to school, some eons ago in Massachusetts, we were taught
**not** to put "and" after the word "hundred." Correct wording would be
"one hundred one." Most of the world, apparently, were **not** taught
this. In any event, I think a first grader is much too young to be
harassed over this sort of thing.
NO BUTS ABOUT AND
I was always taught that "and" functions as a period in numbers. Thus "one
hundred one dollars" is $101.00 but "one hundred and one dollars" is
BASEMENT / DEBASEMENT
I usually pronounce "101" either as "one oh one" since I teach a course
called Biometry 101, or as "five", since I have a computer science degree
and occasionally think in base 2. By the way, by thinking in base N, you
can get a countably infinite number of equally lame jokes.
THE DUTCH WAY
Here's the Dutch way: 101 = "honderd een" = "hundred one".
It's one one shorter too.
THE AUSTRIAN SOLUTION
I was taught by my adored math teacher (albeit in the middle of the last
century) that the "and" is used to indicate a decimal point. Thus one
hundred and one is the transcription of 100.1. German uses "and" -- "und"
-- differently, but in this case it would be the same: "einhunderdeins",
whereas 25 is "fuenf und zwanzig" without making it "5.20". Oddly enough,
some English-speaking folks in the US and elsewhere do say "twenty and
"One hundred one" is the proper pronunciation, but not the most common.
The "and" should be used only to distinguish dollars and cents. Telling a
first grader that they are "counting wrong" is not only counterproductive,
but it's extreme and an inappropriate way to each young minds. One should
explain the difference between the two, why one is proper and the other is
--Debbyann Van Ness
"One hundred one" is the correct way. At least that's what my teachers
beat into my head.
--David B. Horvath
THE ENGINEERED SOLUTION
Being an engineer, I would opt for efficiency and drop the superfluous
"and". In fact, if pure syllabic efficiency is your objective then "one oh
one" is actually the best option although I know mathematicians hate it
when one puts letters in one's numbers.
THE AMBIVALENCE OF TEACHERS
Well, the English teachers come down firmly on both sides of the fence. My
authority on this is the web site
<http://studio.tellme.com/grammarref/GrammarReference9.html> They say that
"The number 101 is pronounced differently depending on the context: HWY
101 is pronounced 'one oh one'$101 is pronounced 'one hundred one' or 'one
hundred and one.' So there. That settles it!
ALPHA TO OMEGA
The correct way to say 101 is "one hundred one." You only use "and" to
describe numbers that have a decimal point, such as 35.6 ("thirty-five AND
six tenths"), or for dollars and cents, such as $24.43 ("twenty-four
dollars AND forty-three cents"), or numbers that have fractions attached,
such as 10 1/2 ("ten AND one-half," or more commonly, "ten AND a half").
The longer numbers also don't have "and" within their phonetic language
descriptions. For example, 1,789,296 is spoken as "one million, seven
hundred eighty nine thousand, two hundred ninety-six."
THE AUSTRALIAN SOLUTION
When my son Jade schooled in Montana it was one hundred one, but here
[Australia] it is one hundred and one.
-- Fiona Davies-McConchie
THE AUSTRALIAN-FRENCH SOLUTION
British and Australian English always includes the 'and', though I have
heard American English without it; regional differences will occur, and
the precepts of descriptive linguistics suggest that if native speakers
use a form, then it is, by definiton, correct. Of course, in a language
like French (so strictly prescribed by the Academie Francaise as well as
the necessities of its grammar), the question would never arise - 101 is
always 'cent et un' (one hundred and one). I hope this helps to further
cloud the issue,
When I was in grade school we learned to pronounce the number 101, "one
hundred one." (That rule hadn't prevented Abrahams Lincoln from starting
his famous speech "Four score *and* seven years ago.") By the time I got
to college, all sorts of classes had 3 digit numbers after them. Many of
them ended in 101, but here it was pronounced "one oh one." This is even
worse, since "oh" is a letter of the alphabet. We should have been saying
things like, "I fell asleep again in Philosophy one-zero-one," but that
just doesn't have the flow. Realistically language evolves, and I believe
that in only 30 years English has evolved to the point where few ever even
knew there was a right way or a wrong way to pronounce 101.
--Michael J Fink
In the "New Math" thing that swept the Unites States as a fad in the
1970s, one used to distinguish between "negative one" and "minus one" in a
way that now only computer scientists use. It never caught on. The
negative one was supposed to be written with a little negation sign raised
in front of the number to indicate that it was part of the numeral.
KIWI SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS
I undertook a survey among students and staff in my department. Here are
some of the more colorful answers.
---Dr. Matthias Ehrgott, Dept. of Engineering Science, The University of
Auckland, New Zealand
I understand that "one hundred one" is the American convention for
saying 101. In other English-speaking countries the convention is usually
"one hundred and one." [Adrian Croucher]
Is this not just a matter of grammar (in this case English grammar)
rather than Mathematics? Ease of pronunciation is probably involved as
well. [Don Nield]
Most of the year 3 engineering students think that it's one hundred
and one. [Year 3 Students]
Thank you for the opportunity you provided us to, at an early age,
affect the root of mathematics. I would like to vote "one hundred one" and
if you don't mind recording Mark's vote, he goes for the opposite "one
hundred and one". [Golbon Zakeri / Mark Wilson]
In my opinion, it really doesn't matter. However, "one hundred and
one" would sounds more comfortable. [Wai]
I say both are correct; the situation is within the definition of what
Computer Scientists call a "don't care."
As for myself...I could easily say either of these:
"Back in the year two thousand one I went home."
"Back in the year two thousand and one I went home."
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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