3/5/96 10:24:42 PM

I have a question regarding the proper pronunciation of numbers. What is the correct way to say, for example, 123.4. I find that many people will say this as "one hundred and twenty three and four tenths". While going through on of my math books, it said that the word 'and' is used to signify part of a whole. So...I believe that the proper pronunciation is "one hundred twenty three and four tenths". I am teaching grades five through nine math and many were used to saying numbers the first way. When we came upon the unit of decimals, they had a hard time understanding that the 'and' was where the decimal was to be because of this. Am I correct, or am I wasting my time correcting my students when they pronunciate numbers the 'first' way?

Thank you in advance for your help.


When your math books say "'and' is used to signify part of a whole", I think the authors have in mind statements like "5 and 3 are 8". In the pronunciation of 123.4 "and" is used as a separator. As to which of your suggested pronunciations is proper I am not sure there is an answer, but using "one hundred twenty-three and four tenths" removes any ambiguity there might be. I would not necessarily spend a great deal of time or make a big issue out of correcting students; there are more important and pressing things to deal with in the teaching and learning of math.

Penny Nom

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