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Learning Chinese Language: Read Muti-digit Numbers out in Chinese ASAP

written by: Ncwujingjing • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 9/11/2012

Could you read the number 15,880,000 out in Chinese once I write it down on a sheet of paper? This article using place value enables you to read numbers out in Chinese within a second after some practices.

  • slide 1 of 5

    Getting to Know Place Value

    As you know, our place value system is based on groups of ten. That means each place in a number is ten times greater than the value of the place to the number's right. Look at the place value chart below and you will find in the English world every 3 places from right to left could be divided into a group and you usually use a comma to make the number easier to identify. Every time you get to the word hundred, you have to add a new numeral such as "thousand" and "imillion" if you move on to the left. What difference in Chinese is that every 4 places could be seen as a group and the word thousand (千) has been used once in every group.

    the place value chart 

  • slide 2 of 5

    Learning Numerals At First

    零(líng):zero

    一(yī):one

    二(èr):two

    三(sān):three

    四(sì):four

    五(wǔ): five

    六(liù):six

    七(qī):seven

    八(bā):eight

    九(jiǔ):nine

    十(shí):ten

    百(bǎi):hundred

    千(qiān): thousand

    万(wàn):ten thousand

    亿(yì): hundred million

    chart 2 

  • slide 3 of 5

    Numbers

    11: 十一(means one, in the tens-value place, plus one, in the ones-value place.)

    12: 十二(means one, in the tens-value place, plus two, in the ones-value place.)

    13:十三(means one, in the tens-value place, plus three, in the ones-value place.)

    19: 十九(means one, in the tens-value place, plus nine, in the ones-value place.)

    20: 二十(means two in the tens-value place and zero in the ones-value place.)

    21: 二十一(means two in the tens-value place and one in the ones-value place.)

    22: 二十二(means two in the tens-value place and two in the ones-value place.)

    100: 一百(means one in the hundreds-value place.)

    111: 一百一十一(means one in the hundreds-value place, one in the tens-value place and one in the ones-value place.)

    109: 一百零九(means one, in the hundreds-value place, zero in the tens-value place and nine in the ones-value place.)

    1000: 一千(means one in the thousands-value place.)

    1005: 一千零五(means one, in the thousands-value place, plus five, in the ones-value place.)

    1050: 一千零五十(means one in the thousands-value place and five in the tens-value place.)

    Notice 1: From 11 (十一)to 19(十九), you don't have to add "one" (一) to the left of the character "十" but in the over two-digit numbers, "一" is needed when one is in the tens-value place.

    Notice 2: When a zero is in the number except at the end, you need to use the character "零", but only once for consecutive "0".

  • slide 4 of 5

    Reading 15,880,000 out in Chinese

    First, you have to know the equivalent expression of each numeral to the left of a comma. (Thousand=千) (Million=百万) Now let’s come to the question of how to read the number 15,880,000 out in Chinese ASAP. At first sight of the number, you have got to know 5 in the place means 5 million, namely 五百万, because the place in a number is ten times greater than the value of the place to the number’s right. So the 1 in the place means 10 million, namely 1 千万. Now read out each number’s value in each place from left to right. It’s 一千五百八十八万.

  • slide 5 of 5

    Practice

    3,652,981

    (3 in the place means 3 million, namely 三百万; 6 means 6 hundred thousand, namely 六十万; 5 means 五万; 2 means 两千; 9 means 九百; 8 namely 八十; 1 namely 一.) So it’s 三(sān)百(bǎi)六(liù)十(shí)五(wǔ)万(wàn)两(liǎng)千(qiān)九(jiǔ)百(bǎi)八(bā)十(shí)一(yī).

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