Some Rules Regarding Numbers

In our book, Il vero italiano: Your Guide To Speaking “Real” Italian, we look at some useful rules about using numbers (p. 103-107). Let’s review some important rules about numbers:

  • Remember that cento (100) and mille (1,000) do not drop their final vowel before -uno or -otto:

    101 = centouno
    108 = centootto
    1001 = milleuno
    1008 = milleotto

  • Remember that uno is not used with cento or mille.

  • But uno is used with milione (un milione = 1,000,000 = 1 million ) and miliardo (un miliardo = 1,000,000,000 = 1 billion).
  • In English, we use the comma (la virgola) as a separator for numbers more than 3 digits; Italian uses the decimal point or period (il punto):

    In English: 1,000 = one thousand

    In Italian: 1.000 = one thousand

  • In English, we use the decimal point (il punto) to indicate decimal places; Italian uses the comma (la virgola):

    In English: $1.25 = one dollar and twenty five center

    In Italian: $1,25 = un dollaro e venticinque centesimi

  • Sometimes the decimal separator in Italian (il punto) is not used in newspapers and magazines. You will often see 4000 written without the period. However, if the number is five digits or more, then a space is placed where the period would be:

    In Italian: 50.000 = cinquantamila (fifty thousand) = 50 000