English Language; Drama & Speech; Social Etiquette. Est. 1986, Hong Kong

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12 February 2016

The Numbers Have It!

It can be difficult for language learners to say big numbers out loud when they read about them in different situations. For example, 1989:

Dates:  1986 (nineteen eighty six)

Money, population, etc.:  1986 (one thousand nine hundred and eighty six)

Mathematics:  1.986 (one point nine eight six)

 

Zero is an Interesting Case How can we use zero? Let me count the ways . . .

Zero Temperature   -6º C

Countdown     3-2-1-0!

It’s six degrees below zero

Three two one zero!

Nought Counting, numbering, and after decimal points

0.75

0.7%

0.501

 

 

 

Nought point seven five

Nought point seven percent Nought point five nought one

(“nought” can be interchanged with “zero”)

Oh Time – for the 24-hour clock

08:00 hours

 

Phone numbers

9804 2172

 

Hotel rooms

Room 604

 

Buses

Bus 307 to Tai Po

 

Oh eight hundred hours

 

 

Nine eight oh four …

 

 

Room six oh four

 

 

Bus three oh seven to Tai Po

Nil Football

The score – 0 : 0 draw

 

It was a nilnil draw.

Love Tennis

The score – 30 : 0

The score was thirty to love

 

The following group activity is good for learners who want help saying numbers in English. Write interesting facts and figures about certain countries on slips of paper and place them around the room. On other slips of paper only write the figures (not the facts) relating to these countries.

The learner picks a slip of paper from the pile of numbered pieces and tries to find the matching sheet with fact and figure posted around the room. When the matching sheet has been found, the learner says the number out loud.

Here is another great exercise for learners! The teacher or parent can write “0” in the middle of the board or a piece of paper and then get the learners to brainstorm different ways of saying it in English.