Reading Numbers in English: US vs. UK

We’ve shown you many ways American English and British English differ. These differences carry over to subtle changes in the way we say and use numbers. When you're learning English, it helps to have a good understanding of these subtle differences so you don't use the incorrect version of a date or phone number. We’ve highlighted a few of these differences to give you a better look. Take a look!


Phone numbers

Writing the numbers – formatting

In the US and Canada, numbers are usually separated by dashes. In the UK they are separated by spaces.

US & Canada


   Country code: +1

   Country code: 0 or +44

   Format for mobile and landline:



   Format for mobile:


   Format for landline:



phone numbers
Have you ever noticed how different US and UK phone numbers look?


Reading the numbers – repeated numbers

British people often say “double” or “triple” for a number that is repeated. Americans generally just say the numbers individually.





   “one, six one seven, six three three, seven seven, five four”


   “one, six one seven, six double three, double seven five four”


Reading the numbers – the number 0

“Zero” is the technically correct way to say the number “0”, but English speakers will often say “oh” like the letter O when reading numbers. That’s why James Bond, Agent 007, is called “double oh seven”!

Groups of numbers that end in multiple 0s are usually read as a single number.


   +44 7402 302405

   US and UK:

   Plus 44, seven four oh two, three oh two four oh five



   US and UK:

   One, eight hundred, two eight two, three thousand



Writing the numbers

Americans write dates in the order month, day, year. In British English, the date is written day, month, year, going from smallest unit of time to largest. If you’re working with people from different areas, it’s probably easiest to write out the month to avoid confusion!






December 11, 2017



12 November 2017


calendar numbers
It's easy to get confused about the right way to format the date, but you'll get it in no time!


Reading the numbers

When saying dates, British people will also add in the words “the” and “of”, whereas American dates don’t have any extra words.




   December eleventh, two thousand seventeen


   The twelfth of November, two thousand seventeen



Another common place to see numbers is in prices. Although the US and UK use different currencies (dollars and cents for the US, pounds and pence for the UK), the ways you can say prices are pretty similar.



   Five dollars


   Ten dollars and seventy-eight cents

   Ten dollars seventy-eight

   Ten seventy-eight (if context is clear)




   Five pounds


   Ten pounds and seventy-eight pence

   Ten pounds seventy-eight

   Ten seventy-eight (if context is clear)


Test yourself!

Every speaker is a bit different, but these are fairly common guidelines. Do you think you’ve mastered the different ways of reading and writing these numbers? Try out the quiz below and see how you do!


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