One of the first things you would most likely learn when you start **learning Italian** are Italian numbers — at least those from one to ten. But what about beyond that? What about *Renato Zero,* or songs about *Ventiquattromila Baci* or *Centocinquanta Stelle*?

This article is here to help you count or use numbers when speaking to someone beyond the “*cinque minuti!”* you must have heard a thousand times, or *mille volte*. Let’s take a look at the world of Italian numbers so you’ll never be caught off-guard when asked to count something.

Culturally speaking, you may be familiar with some numbers of the Italian language even if you haven’t covered them in a language class. That’s probably because they are easy to remember, don’t contain any complicated **Italian grammar rules** and are very, very useful. And don’t worry, there is nothing in this article that’s going to change your mind about that.

Italian numbers are written the same as English ones, for one. And they don’t contain letters or calculations like those pesky Roman numerals do (even though speaking Italian helps with those, as well, since C standing for 100 and M standing for 1000 make more sense when you know the words *cento* and *mille*).

Either way, knowing numbers is vitally important for speaking a language and expressing even the simplest things, so let’s get on with counting.

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## Italian Numbers: The Basics

First, a little recap:

*1. **uno** – one*

*2. **due** – two*

*3. **tre** – three*

*4. **quattro** – four*

*5. **cinque** – five*

*6. **sei** – six*

*7. **sette** – seven*

*8. **otto** – eight*

*9. **nove** – nine*

*10. **dieci** – ten*

*20. **venti** – twenty*

*30. **trenta** – thirty *

*40. **quaranta** – forty *

*50. **cinquanta** – fifty *

*60. **sessanta** – sixty *

*70. **settanta** – seventy*

*80. **ottanta** – eighty*

*90. **novanta** – ninety*

*100. **cento** – hundred *(the form stays the same even if it’s several. 400: *quattrocento*)

*1000. **mille** – thousand *(*mila* if several thousand, e.g. *quattromila*)

*1 000 000 **milione** – million* (*milioni* if several milion, e.g. *due* *milioni*)

*1 000 000 000 **miliardo** – billion (miliardi if several billion, e.g. settanta miliardi)*

When it comes to dates, rules aren’t always the same. For example, you’d say: 1900, *novecento*, for the period — sort of like you’d say “the nineteen-hundreds” except it’s only nine hundred, because the thousand is just assumed, for some reason. But a specific year, like 1990, say, would be *mille|novecento|novanta *(one word).

#### Special Cases With Italian Numbers

But let’s go back a bit and look at the form of single and double digit numbers, for now.

While in English (and German, to name another example) the numbers eleven and twelve divert from the rest of the double digits such as fourteen and twenty-seven in terms of form, in Italian they don’t — but others do, instead.

In Italian, you say *undici, dodici, tredici* (literally something like one-ten, two-ten, three-ten) and switch at seventeen for some reason, saying *diciassette*, or ten-seven. From there, this system is followed for all double digit numbers: 23 – *ventitré, 76 – settantasei, 94 – novantaquattro*.

In English, you switch form once again in the twenties, going from nineteen to twenty-seven. Pretty easy. Similar in Italian, because while in the numbers that start with 1, you adapt the form of *dieci*, ten, in some way, i.e. *undici* or *diciassette*.

From the twenties it’s just the number next to another number, such as *ventitré *for 23 and *quarantacinque* for 45 — with one exception: when the second number starts with “o” or “u,” you contract: *venti*+*otto* becomes *ventotto*, *trenta+uno:* *trentuno*. This is really only the case for numbers with *uno*, one, and *otto*, eight.

See? Easy. Now let’s move on to the kinds of numbers you could come across, because there are a few.

## Kinds Of Italian Numbers

The three groups of numbers are called cardinal, nominal and ordinal, or *numeri* *cardinali*, *nominali*, and *ordinali* in Italian.

#### Cardinal Numbers

*Cardinali*, or cardinal numbers are the most straightforward, since they are used to number things in pure form, in other words as an answer the question “how many?”:

*Conosci Maria e le sue sette sorelle?*(Do you know Maria and her seven sisters?)

#### Nominal Numbers

Nominal numbers in turn are, as the name suggests, about the number as a thing in itself. This is used for phone numbers, house numbers and the like. The easier way to think of it is that nominal numbers don’t indicate quantity, but are just a row of numbers, like a code.

*Il mio numero di telefono è zero-tre-quattro-sette-undici-trenta-cinquantadue.*(My phone number is 0-3-4-7-11-30-52.)

In writing, *nominali* are always written in numbers, while cardinal numbers are only written in numbers instead of words from a certain size.

#### Ordinal Numbers

Finally, ordinal numbers serve to put things in order, as the name again suggests. You use them when you want to say you came first or second in a race or that it’s your third time at a restaurant.

Quentin Tarantino, the director of Italian heritage, is actually named after an ordinal number, the Latin for “fifth,” *quintus*. The name in Italian would be *Quintino*, while his is a French or English variation.

Here are some ordinal numbers in Italian, for reference:

– first*primo*– second (also used in*secondo**secondo me*as in “in my opinion”)– third*terzo*– fourth*quarto*– fifth*quinto*– sixth*sesto*-seventh (close to*settimo**settimana*, or the week)– eight*ottavo*– ninth*nono*– tenth*decimo*

You also use these terms when you’re trying to say things like a third of something, or the fifth of a whole. Fun fact: in Rome, when buying offal at a butcher shop, you’d ask for the *quinto quarto*, the “fifth quarter.”

This comes from **Roman times**, where nobility was given the first quarter of the animal, the finest cuts, while the second quarter was reserved for clergy, the third for the bourgeoisie and the last for members of the military. So, regular folk got the *quinto quarto*, fashioned from the rest.

## Italian Maths Terms

While this article is about numbers generally, it can’t hurt to go into some basic terms of maths, *matematica*, so you know what to do with those numbers, whenever it comes up.

There are four main things you can do with numbers: add them up, subtract them, multiply them or divide them. I’ll briefly get into all of these below. But first, the way you’d or ask someone about the end result of these calculations is *quanto fa? *(Literally “how much does it make?).

Add it up: the plus sign is *più* in Italian, while equals is *uguale*. The final result is called *somma* (you may remember from words like *insomma*).

To sum it up, here’s an example:

#### Addition

*Quanto fa dieci più cinque?*(How much is ten plus five?)

*Quindici*. (Fifteen.)

#### Subtraction

This minus that: minus is *meno* in Italian, which literally means “less.” So:

*Cento meno dieci uguale novanta.*(One hundred minus ten equals ninety.)

You can call the final sum either *differenza* or *resto*, though the first is more fancy, if you will.

#### Multiplication

Multiplication is written with an x, and said with *per*. See this example:

*Dieci per dieci uguale cento.*(Ten times ten equals one hundred.)

The sum left after multiplication is the *prodotto*.

#### Divisions

Divisions: “divided by” is *diviso* in Italian. An example:

*Cento diviso due uguale cinquanta.*(One hundred divided by two equals fifty.)

In cases like the one above, the final sum of a division is called *quoto. *When there is a remainder, you call it *quoziente*, instead.

% or Percento: if you just want to say 20%, you can say *venti percento*. But if you want to say 20% in a sentence or write it into a text, you have to add an article, like this:

*Il quaranta percento della popolazione.*(Forty percent of the population.)

#### Dimensions

Last but not least, dimensions: while not used very often, a situation may arise where you need to give someone the dimensions of something in Italian. You’d do that by saying the two numbers, separated by a *per*, or “x” — this is also often used to substitute the word *per*, or for, in texting. But here, it stands for “by” just like in English:

*Un foglio* da venti per ottanta centimetri.*(A sheet [of paper] of twenty by eighty centimeters.)

*as in a sheet of paper, *un foglio di carta*.

## Italian Numbers: Wrapping It Up

So really, numbers in Italian aren’t all that difficult, and the language doesn’t make maths more of a nightmare than it already is.

Now you're familiar with Italian numbers, the trick is to immerse yourself in Italian so you hear the numbers in context. That way, you'll be able to use them effortless yourself when the time comes to count in Italian.

So make sure you're making daily contact with the Italian language whether that's through **Italian books**, **Italian podcasts** or **Italian YouTube channels.**