You probably know how count to ten in Spanish, which means you are more than halfway to everything you need to be able to count from 100 to 1000. The powerful thing about Spanish numbers is that with a few easy rules you can easily put together every number until 999 and then 1000.
If you haven’t already learned how to count from 1 to 100 in Spanish, visit our post Numbers in Spanish: learn to count from 1 to 100.
What happens after fifteen? Counting from 16 to 30
All numbers in Spanish from 16 to 29 have one thing in common: they combine three words in one.
“Dieciséis” is a reduced form of “diez” + “y”* + “seis”, in English: “ten and six” (it is the same origin as “sixteen” = six + ten).
Notice that there are two slight spelling changes: “z” becomes “c” and “y” becomes “i”, but the pronunciation is the same.
All you have to learn is 100 = “cien”
The words “hundred” and “cien” couldn’t be any more different, since they come from different families of languages and they don’t share an etymology. But there are other words in English that come from the Latin root “centum” (a hundred), such as cent, century, centigrade, centipede or centimeter, which literally means “one hundredth part of a meter”.
Linking ideas and sounds is the key to incorporating words organically to your vocabulary. Knowing etymologies has been useful to some of our students at Fluenz Immersion, while others are more sound or music oriented. Choose your own way!
For numbers from 100 to 199 use “ciento” + the correspondent digit:
101 = ciento uno
102 = ciento dos
103 = ciento tres
And so on…
Remember that from 100 to 130 it’s two words: we never say “ciento y uno”, which is incorrect.
The structure will be almost the same for the next numbers until 999, you only have to learn the multiples of 100 and add the rest.
200 = doscientos
300 = trescientos
400 = cuatrocientos
500 = quinientos
600 = seiscientos
700 = setecientos
800 = ochocientos
900 = novecientos
Do you notice a pattern? Remember that the numbers that come from 5 (cinco), 7 (siete), and 9 (nueve) tend to have small changes in the root when they form larger numbers.
-Think of the “fives” in pairs: “cinco” and “cincuenta”, “quince” and “quinientos”.
-Siete will tend to drop the “i”: “setenta”, “setecientos”
-The “u” in “nueve” becomes “o”: “noventa”, “novecientos”.
What about a thousand?
1,000 = mil
The structure is the same!
1300 = mil trescientos
1848 = mil ochocientos cuarenta y ocho
To form multiples of a hundred you only have to add the digit number before “mil”: dos mil, tres mil, cuatro mil, cinco mil, seis mil, siete mil, etc.