Spelling: do we write “three-hundred-thirty” or “three-hundred-thirty”?

The use of "cent" in the French language is subtle.

Spelling: do we write “three-hundred-thirty” or “three-hundred-thirty”?

The use of "cent" in the French language is subtle. For example, how is 330 written in letters? We (re)explain the rule to you so you never make a mistake!

Spelling numbers in letters is one of the major difficulties of the French language. Among the uncertainties that regularly arise is that regarding the use of the word “hundred,” which can trouble even the most seasoned. The writing of numbers follows a precise structure, a logic of arrangement of units, tens and hundreds. And on the use of hundreds, we must ask ourselves the question of the plural mark.

Let’s take stock of this rule. We write one hundred, then two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, etc. So far, it's very simple: one hundred agrees in number. But it gets complicated when you add tens to hundreds. The case of "430" is a good example since it poses a recurring problem. From this example, we will then know how to write correctly, all the other numbers having the same structure, that is to say hundreds which integrate tens.

The correct answer is "four hundred and thirty": adding an "s" to one hundred is an error in this case. For what ? It's simple, when "hundred" is followed by a numeral adjective, it is always written in the singular. We thus write “nine hundred” or “three hundred”, but “three hundred and thirty”.

But this explanation would be incomplete without this clarification: when we use the hundreds of "thousands", "millions" or "billions", we are in another situation. These words are nouns and not numeral adjectives, which means that they must agree. We therefore write "three hundred million" or "three hundred billion".

Note also that the spelling rule used there for hundreds is exactly the same with tens! We write “eighty” this way, but we write “eighty-four.” And we write “eighty million,” since “million” is a noun. Did you remember?

The French language has surprises in store and let’s be frank, difficulties only arise by understanding the nuances of the rules that apply. Sometimes with special cases and even exceptions! When writing hundreds and tens, understanding once and for all the mistakes to avoid is really handy: anyone who uses checks to pay, in particular, knows this very well.

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