Numbers 1-10 in Vietnamese

The table below shows the building blocks of counting, i.e. numbers in Vietnamese from 0 to 10, which are used to create larger numbers.

In English, before there is any law, one will need to note an additional 2 numbers: eleven, twelve. You may already start writing numbers out of 11 in Vietnamese. What wonderful news!

So, in Vietnamese, how can you say 11?

11 = 10 + 1 = mười + một = mười một! How about nineteen? Write it down, please, and if your response is mười chín, congratulations!

How can you say 15 then? Is that mười năm? Sadly, that isn’t it. While we tell 16 as six + teen, if we think about English, 15 is fif + teen, not five + teen! A curious thing also happens with 15 in Vietnamese: mười lăm, and not mười năm, is the correct response. In the range of 11 to 19, this is the only exception which will come under the rule referred to in the next section.

Numbers 20 to 999 999

You’d say 2 + mươi = hai + mươi in order to say 20. This same law applies, with no single exception, to 30, … until 90. Hey, also 50 still follows the rule: 50 = năm + mươi.

Next, let’s have numbers like 29 tackled. This is said in English as 20 + 9 = twenty + nine. The same rule is shared by Vietnamese, so 29 is written and spoken as 20 + 9 = hai mươi + chín! Why can you say 83 then? Is 80 + 3 = tám mươi + ba ist?

You need to take note of two exceptions: numbers 1 and 5. In number 1 and combinations 01 and 11, 1 is một. It becomes mốt in other 2-digit numbers, such as 21, 31 to 91. For eg, 31 = 30 + 1 = ba mươi + mốt; 61 is sáu mươi mốt.

Similarly for 5: whether standing alone or in a combination of 05, it is năm. It’s lăm, in all other variations, 15, 25, till 95. 55= 50 + 5= năm mươi + lăm, for example.

It is worth noting that the word mươi is sometimes omitted to say 2-digit numbers in spoken Vietnamese (but not in writing). As such, 29 becomes hai chín, which basically separately says the numbers 2 and 9. Similarly, 83 becomes tám ba. Of course, you can’t skip the mươi when the number is 40, which is bốn mươi. Or you would have referred to Number 4!

We need to learn the last piece before we can say any number in Vietnamese: the hundreds. Trăm is the Vietnamese term for one hundred. To tell 300: that’s just ba + trăm; 500: năm trăm. The same as in English, exactly.

The number 152 in English is: one hundred and fifty-two, where the hundred-unit and the remainder are usually used in British English, but not in American English. It’s truly up to you in Vietnamese: not uncommon to use it and not uncommon not to use it. Thus, 152 is một trăm năm (mươi) hai, with or without the word mươi.

How would you have said 103? It’s one hundred and three, is that right? The same law as above for saying 152. However, we need to insert the word lẻ before the number 3 in Vietnamese so that it says: một trăm lẻ ba. This is because of the 0 before the 3rd number. And how about 105?

Let’s practise a little. Why would you have said 190? They are 100 + 90 = một trăm + chín mươi.

What’s with 111? Let’s break it down in English the same way you speak: 100 + 11 = một trăm + mười một. Bear in mind the 1 in the last digit except when it appears alone as number 1 or in 11, as in the above example, it becomes mốt.

Why not finish with the biggest 3-digit 999 number in this section? How would you have said that? The following table shows the answer.

Say a huge number?

By now, you knew all the parts you needed to say some amount. Are you conscious of this?

Let’s do just that by first giving the terms in this section for the bigger units we’d play with:

Now, how are you going to say a number like 15603? It’s not hard: say it in English and then simply translate to Vietnamese the English units and numbers you have learned in the previous 2 parts. This is simply because Vietnamese and English share the same number-saying system.

Let’s go for a drill. In Vietnamese, how to say 15603?

The only note here is that we need the term l because of the 0 preceding the last digit 3.

Using the automatic number speller, you can also check your answer. The correspondence between English and Vietnamese is also included.

What is 5063? Tread here carefully.

There is no need to say the equivalent of, and in, Vietnamese, as we have already heard. The term không right in front of the trăm should have shocked you. Note that for a number 063 or just 63, it is simply said as sáu mươi ba, not không trăm sáu mươi ba. But when the hundred-unit 0 is followed by higher scales, such as a thousand or a million, etc., the hundred-unit 0 must be clearly specified.

6023023, as another example, is said to be: sáu triệu + hai mươi ba ngàn + không trăm hai mươi ba. As you can see, the 0 of the first 023 is not clearly stated, while the 0 of the second 023 is directly stated as không trăm. So when it’s at the hundred-unit, the 0 can be said clearly and this doesn’t extend to any other unit.

Next illustration: 5023055

As you may have known, it’s just a matter of saying such a large number as 502305: < say 502 > + thousand + < say 305 >. This is why it is sufficient to know how to tell till 999 for you to cope with any number.

With a bigger number, let’s practice: 6200310000

In Vietnamese, how familiar it is to say numbers if you already know how to do it in English.

And to graduate from this cardinal number tutorial, test yourself with this very, very big number: 99,999,999,999. Before you look at the answer, give it a shot.

And don’t forget to use the automatic numbers pronouncer (Link temporarily missing) to help you master Vietnamese numbers.

Say Vietnamese Ordinal Numbers

This has been a really long lesson, but you’ll see the magic formula below:

Ordinal number to say: thứ > + < Ordinal number >

Amazing! This implies that you’ll say thứ + hai mươi hai, to say 22nd. Quick and nice in Vietnamese for Ordinals.

Exceptions are to be expected, of course. Fortunately, only one is thứ nhất instead of thứ một: 1st.

Summary

• The numbers in Vietnamese are quite similar to those in English at the general level, with the exception of a few small variations.
• Simply say it as a cardinal number to say oridnal numbers and place the term th-in front.
• Tool: Pronouncer with automatic numbers: Vietnamese and English.