How to spell 101
February 11, 2010 9:14 AM   Subscribe

"One hundred and one" vs. "one hundred one." Which is correct?
posted by nestor_makhno to Writing & Language (61 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I write the second one on my checks because I'm lazy. The bank always cashes them, so it must be correct. QED.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:15 AM on February 11, 2010


In second grade they taught me that numbers never have the word "and" in them. This is the one thing I remember from second grade. FWIW.
posted by rusty at 9:17 AM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Either or either.
posted by holgate at 9:18 AM on February 11, 2010


"and" means "decimal place". One hundred one means 101. one hundred and one means 100.1 (sort of... you'd have to say "tenth" at the end, but the point applies).
posted by brainmouse at 9:18 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


101 is "one hundred one"

100.01 is "one hundred and one"

The "and" acts as a decimal point.
posted by zizzle at 9:19 AM on February 11, 2010


Either is acceptable. Disney prefers the former but I prefer the latter. Nobody will crucify you for using one or the other (or both interchangeably).
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:20 AM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


What rusty said, except that I remember being taught that "and" was used in place of the decimal. For example, 101.32 would be read aloud as "one hundred one and thirty-two one-hundredths".
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 9:20 AM on February 11, 2010


IMDB seems to think that Disney seems to think it's the first one, but I notice Disney's website is careful only to write "101".

Honestly, I think either is acceptable in colloquial usage. If you're doing some formal writing, it may depend on a style guide, but I would default to not using words if you don't have to, and I think that "and" qualifies in this case.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:21 AM on February 11, 2010


Should have previewed.

I am Jack's burning chagrin.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 9:21 AM on February 11, 2010


Seconding brainmouse and zizzle. That's how I learned it in school.
posted by puritycontrol at 9:21 AM on February 11, 2010


Depends where you are. I would never under any circumstances say "one hundred one", because that simply isn't said in the UK. I have never heard of "and" being taken to mean a decimal place.
posted by idiomatika at 9:21 AM on February 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


Thanks everybody! One hundred one it is.
posted by nestor_makhno at 9:22 AM on February 11, 2010


May not be relevant to your question, but a datapoint: in UK English, I have never heard anyone miss out the "and".
posted by him at 9:22 AM on February 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


(Really, though? I say "one hundred and one"; "one hundred one" feels distinctly US-English or perhaps North American English, along with "x hundred" for four-figure numbers and "point twenty-seven" as opposed to "point two seven" for .27 and similar.)
posted by holgate at 9:23 AM on February 11, 2010


Also, always preview.
posted by him at 9:23 AM on February 11, 2010


Colloquially, I think in English we often use "and" as a signal of summation. "One hundred and one" literally means "100 + 1".

If you want to be technical, then in the US we learn either in middle school math or in "life skills" that the "and" indicates the decimal separation. So you would write "One hundred one dollars and one cent."
posted by muddgirl at 9:26 AM on February 11, 2010


IMDB seems to think that Disney seems to think it's the first one

And the book, being British in origin, uses "and" on the cover.
posted by holgate at 9:27 AM on February 11, 2010


ninety-eight, ninety-nine, a hundred, a hundred-and-one, a hundred-and-two
that's how I learned to count, anyway. (Ontario, Canada)
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:27 AM on February 11, 2010


My middle school teacher told me to say "one hundred one" because "one hundred and one" could be confused with 100.1.

That's pretty silly. Does anyone hear "one hundred and one" and actually interpret it to mean 100.1? I doubt it. If someone means 100.1, they'll say "one hundred point one" or "one hundred and one tenth."

But ever since my teacher told me that, I've always used "one hundred one" because it seems more proper. But they both seem fine. This is in the US.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:30 AM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


So you would write "One hundred one dollars and one cent."

But that's money, which is a subset of decimal fractions with its own linguistic terms. I know that Americans tend to be more comfortable with fractions as an adjunct to "English" measurements, but you wouldn't say that a thermometer read "one hundred one and three" if you had a high fever, would you?
posted by holgate at 9:30 AM on February 11, 2010


Americans say "one hundred one" to mean 101
Other English speakers say "one hundred and one" to mean 101

So technically, both are correct - it just depends where you come from. An English / Australian person would NEVER say "one hundred one" for 101, nor would we say "one hundred and one" to mean 100.1

If someone were to say to me "one hundred one thousand", i would take it to mean two separate numbers - 100, 1000, rather than the 101000 that was actually intended. I would say "one hundred and one thousand".
posted by jozzas at 9:31 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


May not be relevant to your question, but a datapoint: in UK English, I have never heard anyone miss out the "and".

I was going to say a similar thing - I never heard "one hundred one" until I moved from Ireland to the states.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:32 AM on February 11, 2010


But that's money, which is a subset of decimal fractions with its own linguistic terms. I know that Americans tend to be more comfortable with fractions as an adjunct to "English" measurements, but you wouldn't say that a thermometer read "one hundred one and three" if you had a high fever, would you?

No, which is why I explained that in "one hundred and one", the word "and" usually indicates summation. Yes, even in the United States.
posted by muddgirl at 9:34 AM on February 11, 2010


And furthermore, in the US we usually use "one hundred one" only when we're counting:

"Ninety-nine, one hundred. One hundred-one, one hundred-two, one hundred-three" and so on. This parallels the structure for counting in the tens place: "twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three." And again, not every child learns it this way.

I can go into a long treatise on why some cultures use the "and" when counting up and others don't. Then I'll have to talk about french counting numbers, which add subtraction on top!
posted by muddgirl at 9:37 AM on February 11, 2010


If you are in the US and writing a check, 101 is "one hundred one."

If you are writing anything serious, you would usually write it as "101" unless it leads off a sentence. And, frankly, the best practice if is starting a sentence is to rewrite the sentence so it doesn't start it anymore. As in "There are 101 ways to skin a cat."

If you are writing something serious and for whatever reason really need to start the sentence with a big number like 101, then the correct way to express it is "Follow the relevant style guide."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:40 AM on February 11, 2010


Ya ... seems like this is one of the things which is different in the US. Proper English ... like from England ... is "one hundred and one" ... 101.1 would be one hundred and one and one tenth.
posted by jannw at 9:40 AM on February 11, 2010


In British English, always use "and". In the USA it is more common to omit it, but with "and" is still acceptable.

Anything about "and" referring to a decimal point, as in "100.1" or "100.01" is nonsense. Notice how it is unclear where the decimal point would start if you said "and one". Is it one tenth or one hundredth? More appropriately you can consider "and" as a plus sign, as in, one hundred plus one.
posted by ctab at 9:42 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would never omit the and, personally. Born and raised in NYC. However, I cannot imagine that anyone would confuse 101 and 100.1, as noted above.

I do recall a childhood quiz that asked what was the first whole number that had an "A" in it, and the answer was "one thousAnd" because "and" should not be used. I don't agree, but it may be that the omission is more standard in American usage.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:42 AM on February 11, 2010


Either, and you can find many examples of both constructions dating far back, for those for whom historical usage is relevant. Shakespeare himself used both:

Indeed, they are disproportion'd;
My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.
Othello: I, iii.

          of princes, in this number,
And nobles bearing banners, there lie dead
One hundred twenty six
Henry V: IV, viii.

These are just two of several examples of each found in Shakespeare.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:45 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


"and" means "decimal place". One hundred one means 101. one hundred and one means 100.1

Canadian, and I've never, ever heard of this convention. I use the one hundred and one construction to mean 101.

With or without the and would be comprehensible to me, and I would take either to mean 101. Use to mean 100.1 would not be something I would understand nor expect. For me, a decimal is indicated as one hundred point one, or one hundred dot one or one hundred comma one (French speakers) in order of occurrence, but never, ever one hundred and one.
posted by bonehead at 9:50 AM on February 11, 2010


Americans say "one hundred one" to mean 101

American here, and when asked how many Dalmations there are, I say "a hundred and one."

Perhaps in contexts where mathematical concepts are being discussed, "one hundred and one" means 100.1, but in a colloquial conversation about Dalmations, or cars, or temperature, I don't think I've ever said, or heard anyone say, "one hundred one" for 101.
posted by rtha at 9:51 AM on February 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm an American (Californian, specifically) and to me, "one hundred one" sounds foreign and uncomfortable. I've never said anything besides "one hundred and one" -- which, in usage, usually ends up being "a hundred and one" (with "a" replacing the "one").

Ironically, after reading your question, I was going to suggest that "one hundred one" was some type of wonky international pronunciation.
posted by ardent at 9:52 AM on February 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Google data points:
"one hundred one" — 233,000 results
"one hundred and one" — 599,000 results

Also: "One Thousand and One Nights"
posted by beagle at 9:55 AM on February 11, 2010


Further support of "either" from the New York Times:

"One hundred one academics who support the Presidential candidacy of Walter F. Mondale bought a quarter-page advertisement in today's issue of The New York Times...."

"One hundred and one teen-age journalists representing 35 high schools in northern New Jersey convened here recently for a course in AIDS education...."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:02 AM on February 11, 2010


I think when speaking most people (including US residents) would include the "and". I know I do. And we say all sorts of things in weird ways because it flows and just feels right.

But please note, the question was about writing ("How do you spell...") so we should take it in that context, unless the OP wants to change the parameters of the query mid-stream on us. And even at that, there are various contexts to consider. On a check, no "and". In a book, no "and" if it has to be written out or just write "101". But what if you're writing dialog and an American is talking? Then you would include the "and". And what about the title of the Disney movie? I think we can forgive it for using an unnecessary "and" because the point is to drive home just how many dogs are involved in this story. There are 100 and if that wasn't enough, theres one frickin' more! So I don't think we can say that one is more correct than another, since it really depends on the circumstance. It would be interesting to know what context in which the OP thought of this question.

As far as learning that "and" meant "decimal point" in grade school, I had completely forgotten that, along with all the other totally worthless things I was taught in grade school. Those who will argue that "one hundred and one" means "100.1" or some such are clinging to a half-remembered rule that they are misinterpreting. That rule makes sense only in the context of writing out numbers in such a way as to remove ambiguity in long form, examples of which are given above. Where you have a number like 101.1 you want to make it clear where the decimal goes and the tendency to put in an extra "and" where it isn't needed is beaten out of you by the teacher saying "and" means "decimal point". Remember, we're talking about second graders upon which subtly of context is often lost. This is a heuristic to help you get through the worksheets where they give you 40 numbers and ask you to write out the long form English version of them, which as a tool of learning is completely worthless. The only time we would do this is on a check and we don't ever write the word "and"; we merely scribble "& 00/100ths". So let's all forget about this "and" means "decimal point" nonsense. :)
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:03 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure there wasn't a decidalmation involved in One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Missing out the "and" would sound weird in the UK. Both are right when used in the right locale.
posted by scruss at 10:03 AM on February 11, 2010


The "and" acts as a decimal point.

Only if the number is followed up with something like "tenths" or "hundredths."
posted by Nothlit at 10:04 AM on February 11, 2010


Anything about "and" referring to a decimal point, as in "100.1" or "100.01" is nonsense. Notice how it is unclear where the decimal point would start if you said "and one". Is it one tenth or one hundredth? More appropriately you can consider "and" as a plus sign, as in, one hundred plus one.

I think it's a function of math teachers who don't perfectly understand "the rule" when pronouncing decimal numbers.

If you are going to say the number "105.25", you pronounce it "One hundred five and twenty-five hundredths". The "and" does indeed represent a decimal, but only in conjunction with the hundredths. If you said "One hundred and one has a decimal in it", I would not know where to put the decimal - is the 1 in the tens place, hundredths place? thousandths place?
posted by muddgirl at 10:05 AM on February 11, 2010


When writing a check (here in America) I would write it one hundred and one for 101. Though, apparently, it seems I'm in the minority. Perhaps its a regional thing, rather than simply international.
posted by Atreides at 10:10 AM on February 11, 2010


because that simply isn't said in the UK

I'm in the US, and always say the "and." One hundred and one doesn't imply a decimal place, it's the "tenths" or "hundredths" that follow that connote fractional values. Clearly this isn't a hard-and-fast rule, just my own experience, but it seems to me that relying solely on "and" as a decimal marker will lead to misunderstanding, whereas expressly specifying tenths or hundredths—or simply saying something "point" something like most people—eliminates any confusion.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:18 AM on February 11, 2010


Wow, what a response. To add more context, we are captioning a video of a child doing mathematics. I'm not sure what s/he is saying in their native language, but the meaning is 101.
posted by nestor_makhno at 10:19 AM on February 11, 2010


I should also add that I always thought the they both meant "101" but one was more correct. 100.1 came out of left field. I would have thought that ways pronounced "one hundred point one" or "one hundred and one tenth."
posted by nestor_makhno at 10:22 AM on February 11, 2010


I've been in Vancouver all my life, and have never heard the 'and'='point' thing. 101 = 'One hundred and one.' You could write it without the 'and', but I've never heard anyone speak it like that. 100.1 = 'one hundred point one', with other variations acceptable as long as there's some qualification to what is after the decimal (tenths, hundredths, etc).

And although us Canadians speak a bastardized version of UK/US English, I've never once, in all my absorption of US media, heard it as "one hundred one". Not that I noticed, anyway. "one oh one" is probably more common.
posted by cgg at 10:31 AM on February 11, 2010


"And" never ever denotes a decimal point explicitly, but it could imply one. As many above me have said, "and" means addition. "One hundred and one tenths" means you're adding one hundred + one tenths, which implies that there is a decimal point in the decimal representation of that number. zizzle's link above states "a decimal point means and," not vice versa.
posted by zsazsa at 10:36 AM on February 11, 2010


nestor_makhno - I think most style guides would find it acceptable to just use "101", unless you feel that there might be a font issue where the 1's look like l's and the 0 looks like an O.
posted by muddgirl at 10:37 AM on February 11, 2010


brainmouse: ""and" means "decimal place". One hundred one means 101. one hundred and one means 100.1 (sort of... you'd have to say "tenth" at the end, but the point applies)."

zizzle: "101 is "one hundred one"

100.01 is "one hundred and one"

The "and" acts as a decimal point.
"

Strange that "and" as decimal point was marked as best answer. The link zizzle provides does not indicate this at all. In fact, it actually backs up the idea that "one hundred and one" means 101. Furthermore, the confusion between 100.01 and 100.1 combined with the far simpler (and, in my experience, more common) use of the word "point" (or similar) to mean a decimal point results in this usage having little if anything to recommend it. "And" should always indicate summation.

On preview, this, this and this:

ctab: "Anything about "and" referring to a decimal point, as in "100.1" or "100.01" is nonsense. Notice how it is unclear where the decimal point would start if you said "and one". Is it one tenth or one hundredth? More appropriately you can consider "and" as a plus sign, as in, one hundred plus one."

bonehead: "Use to mean 100.1 would not be something I would understand nor expect. For me, a decimal is indicated as one hundred point one, or one hundred dot one or one hundred comma one (French speakers) in order of occurrence, but never, ever one hundred and one."

Jaltcoh: "Does anyone hear "one hundred and one" and actually interpret it to mean 100.1? I doubt it. If someone means 100.1, they'll say "one hundred point one" or "one hundred and one tenth.""

posted by turkeyphant at 10:47 AM on February 11, 2010


or perhaps North American English

This canuck disagrees, I've always used one hundred and one because the "and" has means "in addition too". That's how I write out my cheques. If someone said one hundred one dalmatians I'd think the one puppy was a fraction of the other hundred, poor puppy!
posted by squeak at 10:56 AM on February 11, 2010


a hundred. an hundred.
a hundred. AN hundred.
a hundred. AN HUNDRED.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:13 AM on February 11, 2010


AN HUNDRED. a hundred
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:18 AM on February 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Firmly in the camp that "an" does not precede an aspirated "H."
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:22 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Americans say "one hundred one" to mean 101

This American doesn't. In fact, I find "one hundred one" to both look and sound very strange. I use "one hundred and one" when counting and writing checks. More broadly I prefer the pattern "X Y and Z" to "X Y Z." So for example "two hundred and five" not "two hundred five."

I go either way when pronouncing dates. Both 'two thousand and four' and 'two thousand four' sound reasonable to my ears, though I think 'two thousand and four' is how I would normally pronounce it.

Data Point: Perl's Number::Spell module renders it "one hundred one" as does the bsd-games program number.
posted by jedicus at 11:33 AM on February 11, 2010


For your purpose, can't you just have the caption read "101"?

If you are going to say the number "105.25", you pronounce it "One hundred five and twenty-five hundredths".

I'd never say it that way. I'd probably just say it as "a hundred and five" and to hell with the .25 or "A hundred and five and a quarter." Or "One oh five point two five."

Or, in a context where it mattered and it was over the phone, something like "One. Zero. Five. Decimal. Two. Five."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:34 AM on February 11, 2010


Firmly in the camp that there's at least two ways to pronounce just about every word in the English language. I've heard "an 'undred" more than once, although I personally say it "a hundred" ...

As for the actual question, I'd probably say either "a hundred and one" or "one hundred one" depending on context, and would write "101" (with serifs on the 1s and a slash through the 0) whenever possible...
posted by FlyingMonkey at 11:39 AM on February 11, 2010


Firmly in the camp that there's at least two ways to pronounce just about every word in the English language. I've heard "an 'undred" more than once, although I personally say it "a hundred" ...

Though it seems you agree that when pronouncing "hundred" with an aspirated "H," you would use an "A" rather than an, well, "AN"? I don't disagree there's different ways to pronounce words, though in the U.S., the choice of article seems pretty well settled once you choose a pronunciation.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:51 AM on February 11, 2010


Definitely "x y and z". (Northern Virginia, USA. I don't remember anything specific from school.)

one hundred and one
six hundred and twenty (I write this one on checks all too frequently)
four score and seven
posted by anaelith at 12:04 PM on February 11, 2010


Around my neck of the woods, 101 is most likely pronounced something like "a hunnert'n'wun".
posted by owtytrof at 12:17 PM on February 11, 2010


A hundred and one.

I would never put a one at the beginning, only an A, and "a hundred one" is ridiculous.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 12:21 PM on February 11, 2010


I am pretty pedantic about spelling and such, for what it's worth.

I personally say "A hundred and one". So did the book "The Hundred and One Dalmatians". I would not blink an eye if someone else said "a hundred one", though.

However, the assertion that "A hundred and one" means 100.1 or 100.01 is totally nuts. No one I know (in the US) would ever use the phrase to mean that. I only bother to point this out because it was marked as a best answer.
posted by dfan at 12:32 PM on February 11, 2010


Bounced this question around a bunch of math educators today. They were pretty much evenly divided. I think I am going to chalk it up to toeMAYtoe, toeMAtoe.
posted by nestor_makhno at 1:12 PM on February 11, 2010


> one hundred and one means 100.1

This is ridiculous. No one would ever think "one hundred and one" involved a decimal. Either is correct; use whichever sounds right to you. In other words, yes, toeMAYtoe, toeMAtoe.
posted by languagehat at 4:33 PM on February 11, 2010


Strange that "and" as decimal point was marked as best answer. The link zizzle provides does not indicate this at all. In fact, it actually backs up the idea that "one hundred and one" means 101. Furthermore, the confusion between 100.01 and 100.1 combined with the far simpler (and, in my experience, more common) use of the word "point" (or similar) to mean a decimal point results in this usage having little if anything to recommend it.

Actually, it's exactly because 100.01 and 100.1 are easily confused that some people have mistakenly overextended the use of "and" so that it ONLY can be used to indicate a decimal when reading a number aloud. Lots and lots of kids who are first encountering decimals really don't get that "one hundred point one" is not the same as "one hundred point zero one", (or worse, they don't get that "one hundred point seventeen" is less than "one hundred point two"), so telling them to use "and" instead of "point" when they read a decimal number forces them to include the units for the decimal instead of just reading off a string of numbers. It's easy to tell that "one hundred and one hundredth" is less than "one hundred and one tenth".

Sure, once you understand decimals, say them however you please. But as a learning tool, there is lots to recommend with regards to telling kids that they "have to" say "and" for the decimal in a number.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:08 PM on February 11, 2010


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