Friday, 29 March 2013

Tell Me, How Old Is Your Friend?

Introduction
This post is about the practical use of the Spanish numbers in general and more specifically about the use of:
  • Numbers 20 → 99
  • Larger numbers which include numbers 20 → 99




SCENARIO


Imagine you are talking a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are telling the other person about a friend of yours. This is a friend the other person doesn't know. At some point, the other person says to you something like: "tell me, how old is your friend?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿cuántos años tiene tu amigo*?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿cuántos años tiene su amigo*?

*NB The use of the word amigo (masculine) implies a male friend. If referring to a female friend, the other person would have used the feminine form amiga in the question.


OUR TIP
 
Your answer should be quite straightforward. When you say how old someone is, you do should not need to consider different levels of formality for you reply.


Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Tiene veintiún* años (he+ is twenty one);
  • Tiene veintidós* años (he+ is twenty two);
  • Tiene veintitrés* años (he+ is twenty three);
  • Tiene veinticinco* años (he+ is twenty five);
  • Tiene veintiséis* años (he+ is twenty six);
  • Tiene treinta y un* años (he+ is thirty one);
  • Tiene cuarenta y dos* años (he+ is forty two);
  • Tiene cincuenta y tres* años (he+ is fifty three);
  • Tiene sesenta y seis* años (he+ is sixty six);

Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿cuántos años tiene su amigo?

+NB We know the friend in question is a he because of the masculine word amigo in the question. You can ignore that in your Spanish answer -the same answer is valid whether your friend is a male or a female. 

*Please see grammar topic below, the numbers (20 → 99)

*Grammar-Numbers (20 → 99)
When using numbers (20 → 99), or any larger number containing these numbers in Spanish, you should bear in mind the following:
  1. Numbers: 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71, 81, 91
    • When these numbers are used just as numbers (nouns), the following form should be used.
      • Veintiuno (twenty one);
      • Treinta y uno (thirty one);
      • Cuarenta y uno (forty one);
      • Cincuenta y uno (fifty one);
      • Sesenta y uno (sixty one);
      • Setenta y uno (seventy one);
      • Ochenta y uno (eighty one);
      • Noventa y uno (ninety one);

The above forms apply also to larger numbers when they include numbers 21, 31, 41, 51, 51, 71, 81, 91. For example:
      • Doscientos cincuenta y uno (two hundred and fifty one);
      • Tres mil trescientos cincuenta y uno (three thousand three hundred and fifty one);


    • However, when any of these numbers is followed by a noun, then gender agreement is required and the noun in question should be in its plural form. In these cases, each number takes the form shown in the examples below:
      • Veintiún euros (twenty one Euros- masculine);
      • Veintiuna libras (twenty one pounds- feminine);
      • Treinta y un euros (thirty one Euros- masculine);
      • Treinta y una libras (thirty one pounds- feminine);
      • Cuarenta y un euros (forty one Euros- masculine);
      • Cuarenta y una libras (forty one pounds- feminine);
      • Cincuenta y un euros (fifty one Euros- masculine);
      • Cincuenta y una libras (fifty one pounds- feminine);
      • Sesenta y un euros (sixty one Euros- masculine);
      • Sesenta y una libras (sixty one pounds- feminine);
      • Setenta y un euros (seventy one Euros- masculine);
      • Setenta y una libras (seventy one pounds- feminine);
      • Ochenta y un euros (eighty one Euros- masculine);
      • Ochenta y una libras (eighty one pounds- feminine);
      • Noventa y un euros (ninety one Euros- masculine);
      • Noventa y una libras (ninety one pounds- feminine);

The above peculiarities apply also to larger numbers when they include numbers 21, 31, 41, 51, 51, 71, 81, 91. For example:
      • Doscientos cincuenta y un euros (two hundred and fifty one Euros- masculine);
      • Doscientas cincuenta y una libras (two hundred and fifty one pounds- feminine);
      • Tres mil trescientos cincuenta y un euros (three thousand three hundred and fifty one Euros- masculine);
      • Tres mil trescientas cincuenta y una libras (three thousand three hundred and fifty one pounds- feminine);


  1. Numbers 20 → 29
    • These numbers may all be spelled as single words as shown in the examples below:
      • Veintiuno (twenty one);
      • Veintidós (twenty two);
      • Veintitrés (twenty three);
      • Veinticuatro (twenty four);
      • Veinticinco (twenty five);
      • Veintiséis (twenty six);
      • Veintisiete (twenty seven);
      • Veintiocho (twenty eight);
      • Veintinueve (twenty nine);

The above forms apply also to larger numbers when they include numbers 20 → 29. For example:
      • Doscientos veintiuno (two hundred and twenty one);
      • Tres mil trescientos veinticinco (Three thousand three hundred and twenty five);
  1. Numbers 31 → 99
    • Numbers in this range should be spelled as per their individual components separated by 'y' as shown in the examples below:
      • Treinta y dos (thirty two);
      • Cuarenta y tres (forty three);
      • Cincuenta y cuatro (fifty four);
      • Sesenta y cinco (sixty five);
      • Setenta y seis (seventy six);
      • Ochenta y siete (eighty seven);
      • Noventa y ocho (ninety eight);

The above peculiarities apply also to larger numbers when they include numbers 31 → 99. For example
      • Doscientos noventa y nueve (two hundred and ninety nine);
      • Tres mil trescientos treinta y cinco (Three thousand three hundred and thirty five);


Now you should practise the use of the numbers 20 → 99 with some examples of your own.

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