Spanish Numerals-Part 3

Collective numbers and fractions in Spanish

The collective numbers are nouns that represent a certain number of people or objects.

They are much more common in Spanish than in English. Most of the English numerical collective nouns have equivalents in Spanish:

– a pair of pants (un par de pantalones)

– a trio of singers (un trío de cantantes)

– a dozen eggs (una docena de huevos)

– a score of niños (una veintena de children)

You should know that most of the Spanish collective numbers have no single-word English equivalent so there is no way to translate them, you need to learn them by heart:

– Una decena de personas han venido (Ten people have come.)

– Una treintena de alumnos (A group of 30 students)

– Centenares de peces gigantes han muerto en las playas de Tokyo. (Hundreds of fishes have died on Tokyo beaches.)

– Más de un millar inmigrantes llegan cada año. (More than 1,000 people arrive each year).

Rules:

– When accompanying a noun they are followed by de

Una docena de uvas para el día 31 de diciembre (A dozen grapes for the December 31st )

Han suspendido un par de niños (A pair of children haven’t passed the exam)

– Collective numbers are usually singular:

Un millar de personas (A thousand people)

Un cuarteto de trompeta (A quartet of trumpets)

 

Fractions in Spanish can be expressed in different ways depending on the formality of the speech and specially the size of the number. Some examples

 

1/2 (La mitad)

– La empresa redujo a la mitad el precio (The company reduced to half the cost)

– La mitad de los niños son chicas. (half of the children are girls)

– Una mitad y otra mitad hacen uno (One half plus another half make one)

– Predicen la desaparición de un tercio de los linces en España (They predict the disappearance of a third of Lynxes in Spain )

1/3 (un tercio)

 

– Los espaÑoles pasan un tercio de su tiempo libre en internet (Spanish spend a third of their free time connected to internet)

 

– Un tercio de los ingleses van a España en verano (A third of English people go to Spain on summer)

For fourths up to tenths, you can use the masculine form of the ordinal numbers.

1/4 (Un cuarto)

– Un cuarto de los animals australianos está en peligro de extinción (A quarter of Australian animals are in danger of extinction)

– He bebido un cuarto de litro de cerveza (I have drunk a quarter litre of beer)

1/5 (Un quinto)

– El cambio requerirá la obtención de una mayoría de un quinto en la votación final. (The change will require the obtaining of a majority of one fifth in the final vote)

1/6 (Un sexto)

– Dos sextos es igual a un tercio (Two-sixths is the same as one-third)

1/7 (Un séptimo)

– Dos séptimos más dos séptimos es igual a cuatro séptimos. Two-sevenths plus two-sevenths equals four-seventh)

1/8 (Un octavo)

Un kilómetro es practicamente igual a cinco octavos de una milla. (A kilometer is practically equal to five-eighths of a mile)

We could say when the number is high, we will use the suffix -avo which is the aproximately equivalent of the “-th” (or, sometimes, “-rd”) suffix in English. It can be used for “eleventh” and beyond.

But, you should know that this is not the only form to express it. Numbers from 10 to 19 can be expressed as: 11 (décimo primero), 15 (décimo quinto). Numbers from 20 to 29 can be expressed as: 21 (vigésimo primero), 28 (vigésimo octavo), etc.

– Mi amigo vive en el piso décimo tercero (My friendo lives in the 13th floor)

– Es el trigésimo aniversario de mis padres (It is the 30th anniversary of my parent’s wedding)

– Hoy es su vigésimo quinto cumpleaños (today is my 25th birthday)

 

We hope we helped with the Spanish lessons – Numerals. (Spanish info)

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