> SlowTrav > Italy > Instructions for Visitors > Language Resources > Language Lessons

Italian Language Lessons: Italian Counts - Counting past a million

Steve Cohen

Previous lessons covered saying and recognizing numbers from 1 to 1,000,000. This lesson covers really large numbers; you will need to be sure you have worked through the vocabulary and pronunciation in the earlier lessons before you continue.

Count to a Billion

The Italian for million is un milione (pronounced "oon mee-LYOH-neh"). Note the preceding "un" to express "a" million; this is different from cento and mille (100 and 1,000, respectively) which stand on their own with no preceding "un". Instead of "un", you may see "uno" denoting "one million" as opposed to "a million". Numbers of millions greater than one use the plural form "milioni" as in, say, due milioni (two million).

To express a round number of millions greater than one, from two million through nine hundred ninety-nine million, combine the word for the required number of millions with the ending milioni (pronounced mee-LYOH-nee). The number of millions is written as a separate word and often as a number as in, for example, trecento milioni or 300 milioni (300 million).

To express a number above 1 million but less than 1 billion which is not a round number of millions:

  • form the word for the number of whole millions, a number between 1 and 999
  • add a second word: either milione (for numbers in the 1 millions) or milioni (for 2 million and higher numbers)
  • follow this second word with the word for the last 6 digits of the number.

The Italian for a billion (American billion or 1,000 million, not the British billion which is one million million) is un miliardo (pronounced "oon mee-LYAHR-doh").

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

You learned the numbers from 1 to 1,000,000 in previous lessons. To practice expressing round numbers of millions up to 999 million, use the table below. To express a number between 1,000,000 and 999,999,999 first build the "round millions" part, then add the word for the last 6 digits of your number after "milione" or "milione" (numbers from 1 through 999,999 are covered in detail in previous lessons).

To practice with the "round millions" parts of numbers from 1 million to 999 million, use the following table. 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 either "milione" or "milioni" as a second word. You may pick a blank entry from one or more of these columns corresponding to zero positions or numbers in the 100 millions; e.g. uno milione, centotrentadue milioni (132,000,000), cinquecento milioni (500,000), seicentottanta milioni (680,000).

1 2 3 4 5 6
First Word Second Word
No. of hundreds   0 - 19 20 - 99  
Hundred   Tens Units  

due

 

uno

venti

uno

  

tré

  

due

trenta

due

milione**

quattro

cento

tre

quaranta

tré

milioni**

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 milione, the singular form, if the first word is "uno" (or "un") to express one million. Use milioni, the plural form, if the first word is due (two) or higher.

With the above information, previous lessons and some practice, you now know how to say, understand and read numbers up to one billion! Here are a few examples to get you started. Note that, as in English, number of this magnitude are often written with a combination of numerals and words. Practice with these examples, then make up more of your own. Pronounce the words aloud to become familiar with how they sound.

ENGLISH ITALIAN SAY IT LIKE THIS

1,000,000

uno milione

OO-noh mee-LYOH-neh

2,000,000

due milioni

DOO-eh mee-LYOH-nee

12,500,000

dodici milioni cinquecentomila

DOH-dee-chee mee-LYOH-nee cheen-kweh-chehn-toh-MEE-lah

43,152,000

quarantatré milioni centocinquantaduemila

- or -

43 milioni 152 mila

kwah-rahn-tah-treh mee-LYOH-nee chen-toh-cheen-kwahnta-doo-eh-MEE-lah

283,750,000

duecentottantatré milioni settecentocinquantamila

- or -

283 milioni 750 mila

doo-eh-chehn-toht-tahn-tah-treh mee-LYOH-nee seht-teh-chehn-toh-cheen-kwahn-tah-MEE-lah

Italian Numbers Beyond One Billion

As mentioned above, the Italian for a billion (American meaning) is un miliardo (pronounced "oon mee-LYAHR-doh"). An alternative form is uno miliardo (pronounced "OO-noh mee-LYAHR-doh"), meaning one (rather than a) billion. The plural form, for numbers of billions greater than one, is miliardi (pronounced "mee-LYAHR-dee). As with numbers in the millions, you can express whole numbers of billions with the word for the required number of billions followed by either "miliardo" (for one billion) or "miliardi" for 2 billion and up. Numbers in the thousands or millions may be used before "miliardi", so you can now express VERY large numbers.

Large numbers like those discussed in this lesson are usually written either entirely in numbers or as a combination of numbers and words rather than being spelled out entirely in words. One thing to watch out for: in Italy (and other parts of Europe), the use of the comma (virgola) and decimal point (punto) are usually the reverse of the U.S. so that, for example, you may see 1,500.00 (U.S. form) written as 1.500,00.

Some examples:

ENGLISH ITALIAN SAY IT LIKE THIS

one billion

uno miliardo

OO-noh mee-LYAHR-doh

12.8 billion (12 billion, 800 million)

12,8 miliardi

DOH-dee-chee VEER-goh-lah OHT-toh mee-LYAHR-dee

one (a) trillion*

mille miliardi

MEEL-leh mee-LYAHR-dee

3 trillion, 200 billion (or 3.2 trillion)

3.200 miliardi

treh-mee-lah-doo-eh-CHEHN-toh mee-LYAHR-dee

* American trillion = 1,000 billion.

To complete this series of lessons, here are a few brief excerpts from Italian news stories mentioning large numbers. Sometimes numbers in news stories, especially stories from the U.S., use the American convention for commas and decimal points, so you have to pay close attention to the context.

ITALIAN ENGLISH

"...Sarà la quinta presenza consecutiva di Woods al torneo texano il cui montepremi di 4,5 milioni di dollari ..."

It will be the fifth consecutive appearance by [Tiger] Woods at the Texas tournament for which the top prize is 4.5 million dollars

"...l' influenza ha colpito 2,6 milioni di italiani..."

influenza struck 2.6 million (2,600,000) Italians

"...5 milioni 517 mila spettatori hanno seguito i 30 minuti del 'Raggio Verde' andati in onda ieri sera...."

5 million, 517 thousand viewers watched the 30 minute "Raggio Verde" [television program] broadcast last night

"Gruppo Fiat: perdite pari a 4,263 miliardi di euro"

[Headline from an article on Fiat's gloomy financial results for 2002]

Fiat Group: losses total 4.263 billion euro

If you practice the material outlined in this and preceding lessons, you can learn to say and recognize all the numbers you are likely to ever run into in Italian.

You can count on it!

Back to Top

Car Rental Hotel Booking Flight Booking Train Tickets Books, Maps, Events
Europe Cell Phones Long Distance Cards Luggage, etc. Travel Insurance Classifieds

* Advertise on Slow Travel | Post your travel questions on the Slow Travel Forums

Copyright © 2000 - 2014 SlowTrav.com, unless noted otherwise. Slow Travel® is a registered trademark. Contact Slow Travel

RSS Feeds - Link to Us - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy - Currency Converter - Colophon - Sponsors - Become a Member
Home | Forums | Slow Travel? | Europe Trip Planning | Photos | Trip Reports | Search | About Us | Classifieds