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Italian Language Lessons: Italian Counts - Counting to a million

Steve Cohen

Previous lessons covered saying and recognizing numbers from 1 to 1,000. Make sure you have worked through the vocabulary and pronunciation in those lessons before you continue.

Multiples of 1,000 up to 1,000,000

The Italian word for "a thousand" is mille (pronounced MEEL-leh) - note that you don't put a word for "a" or "one" before mille as in English.

To express a number of thousands greater than one, from two thousand through nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, combine the word for the required number of thousands with the ending mila (pronounced MEE-lah). The result is written as one word; e.g. cinquemila (5,000), centomila (100,000).

For numbers from 1,001 through 999,999 combine the thousands multiple with the word for the required number between one and 999 (for both parts of these numbers, you need to know numbers from 1 to 999, covered in previous lessons). The combined result is written as a single word (you will, however,  sometimes see spaces inserted in written numbers).

The Italian for a million is un milione (pronounced "oon mee-LYOH-neh"); unlike with cento and mille, you DO include the "un" to express "a" million.

You have now covered the numbers in Italian up to 1,000,000!

You learned the numbers from 1 to 1,000 in previous lessons. To practice expressing numbers up to 999,999, use the tables below.  Assemble the word form of the number in three steps: first, form the "number of thousands" portion of the number using the first table below, then form the "1 to 999" portion using the second table and lastly make a single word consisting of the "thousands portion" followed by the "1 to 999" portion.

Step 1: The "number of thousands" portion

Use the following table as follows to form the "number of thousands" portion of a number:

  • If the number you are expressing is 2,000 or greater, pick an entry from each of the first two columns, one from either the third column (endings up to 19) or from each of the fourth and fifth columns (endings from 20 through 99) and add "mila". You may pick a blank entry from one or more of these columns corresponding to zero positions or numbers in the 100 thousands; e.g. centotrentaduemila (132,000), cinquecentomila (500,000), seicentottantamila (680,000).
  • If the number you are expressing is between 1,000 and 1,999 the whole "number of thousands" portion is simply "mille".
  • If the number you are expressing is less than 1,000, there is no "number of thousands" portion; simply skip this step. For a "number of thousands" portion greater than 1,000, you may pick a blank entry from one or more of these columns if the number is in the 100,000's or to reflect a zero digit; e.g. centotrentaduemila (132,000), cinquecentomila (500,000), seicentottantamila (680,000). Once you have formed the "above 1,000" portion, add on the portion of the number below 1,000 by selecting the appropriate entries from columns 7 through 11 as described in the previous lesson.
1 2 3 4 5 6
No. of   0 - 19 20 - 99    
hundreds Hundred   Tens Units  

due

 

uno

venti

uno

 

tré

 

due

trenta

due

mila**

quattro

cento

tré

quaranta

tré

mille**

cinque

cent*

quattro

cinquanta

quattro

 

sei

 

cinque

sessanta

cinque

 

sette

 

sei

settanta

sei

 

otto

 

sette

ottanta

sette

 

nove

 

otto

novanta

otto

 

 

 

nove

 

nove

 

 

 

dieci

 

 

 

 

 

undici

 

 

 

 

 

dodici

 

 

 

 

 

tredici

 

 

 

 

 

quattordici

 

 

 

 

 

quindici

 

 

 

 

 

sedici

 

 

 

 

 

diciassette

 

 

 

 

 

diciotto

 

 

 

 

 

diciannove

 

 

 

* The "o" ending of cento is dropped if followed by "otto" (eight) or "ottanta" (eighty). Remember also that endings of numbers in the "tens" column are dropped if followed by "uno" or "otto".

 ** Use mille by itself for one thousand, mila (preceded by a number from 2 through 999) for two thousand and above.

Step 2: The "1 to 999" portion

Previous lessons covered numbers from 1 through 999 in detail. Refer to the following table to form the "1 to 999" part of a number. Pick an entry from each of the first two columns below, then pick either an entry from the third column (endings up to 19) or an entry from each of the fourth and fifth column (endings from 20 through 99) and combine them into a single word. Sometimes you will pick a blank entry from one or more columns; e.g. centotrentadue (132), cinquecento (500), seicentottanta (680).

Hundred(s) portion   Endings 20 - 99
No. of hundreds Hundred Endings 0 - 19 Tens Units

due

 

uno

venti

uno

tré*

 

due

trenta

due

quattro

cento

tré

quaranta

tré**

cinque

cent*

quattro

cinquanta

quattro

sei

 

cinque

sessanta

cinque

sette

 

sei

settanta

sei

otto

 

sette

ottanta

sette

nove

 

otto

novanta

otto

 

 

nove

 

nove

 

 

dieci

 

 

 

 

undici

 

 

 

 

dodici

 

 

 

 

tredici

 

 

 

 

quattordici

 

 

 

 

quindici

 

 

 

 

sedici

 

 

 

 

diciassette

 

 

 

 

diciotto

 

 

 

 

diciannove

 

 

* The "o" ending of cento is dropped if followed by "otto" (eight) or "ottanta" (eighty). Remember also that endings of numbers in the "tens" column are dropped if followed by "uno" or "otto".

** Tré is written with an accent when it is combined in this way.

Step 3: Combine the two portions

Once you have the "number of thousands" and "1 to 999" portions, combine them into a single word to express the number. With the above information and some practice, you now know how to say, understand and read numbers up to one million! Here are a few examples to get you started. Practice with these, then make up more of your own. Pronounce the words aloud to become familiar with how they sound.

ENGLISH ITALIAN SAY IT LIKE THIS

1,000

mille

MEEL-leh

EXAMPLE: grazie mille - thank you very much

2,000

duemila

doo-eh-MEE-lah

EXAMPLE: Italy's Millenium Jubilee year

2,001

duemilauno

doo-eh-mee-lah-OO-noh

EXAMPLE: Space odyssey year

7,890

settemila ottocentonovanta

seht-teh-MEE-lah oht-to-chehn-toh-noh-VAHN-tah

EXAMPLE: one automobile dealer's base price in euro for a Fiat Seicento (600)

128,151

centoventottomila centocinquantuno

chehn-toh-vehn-toht-toh-MEE-lah chehn-toh-cheen-kwahnt-OO-noh

EXAMPLE: same dealer's base price in euro for an Audi Z8

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