Say Numbers in Vietnamese

Vietnamese Numbers 1 – 10

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

Number English Vietnamese
1 one một
2 two hai
3 three ba
4 four bốn (also: tư)
5 five năm
6 six sáu
7 seven bảy
8 eight tám
9 nine chín
10 ten mười

In English, one would need to remember additional 2 numbers before there is any rule: eleven, twelve. In Vietnamese, you can already start to compose numbers from 11. What a good news!

So how would you say 11 in Vietnamese? 11 = 10 + 1 = mười + một = mười một! How about 19? Please compose it and if your answer is mười chín, congratulations!

How would you say 15 then? Is it mười năm? Unfortunately it’s not. If we think about English, while we say 16 as six + teen, 15 is fif + teen, not five + teen! In Vietnamese, a strange thing also happens with 15: the correct answer is mười lăm, and not mười năm. This is the only exception in the range from 11 to 19, which would fall under a rule mentioned in the next section.

Numbers from 20 to 999

In order to say 20, you would say 2 + mươi = hai + mươi. This same rule applies to 30, … until 90, with no single exception. Hey, even 50 still conforms with this rule: 50 = năm + mươi.

Next, let’s tackle numbers such as 29. In English, this is said as 20 + 9 = twenty + nine. Vietnamese shares the same rule so that 29 is written and spoken as 20 + 9 = hai mươi + chín! How would you then say 83? Is ist 80 + 3 = tám mươi + ba?

There are 2 exceptions that you need to take note: for number 1 and 5. 1 is một in the number 1 and combinations 01 and 11. In other 2-digit numbers such as 21, 31 till 91, it becomes mốt. For instance, 31 = 30 + 1 = ba mươi + mốt; 61 is sáu mươi mốt.

Similarly for 5: it’s năm when stands alone or in 05 combination. In all other combinations, 15, 25, till 95, it’s lăm. For example, 55 = 50 + 5 = năm mươi + lăm.

It’s worth noting that in spoken Vietnamese (but not in writing), the word mươi is often omitted in saying 2-digit numbers. As such 29 becomes hai chín, which is essentially saying the number 2 and 9 separately. Likewise, 83 becomes tám ba. Of course, when the number is 40, which is bốn mươi, you can’t omit the mươi. Or you’d be referring to the number 4!

Before we can say any number in Vietnamese, we need to learn the last piece: the hundreds. The Vietnamese word for hundred is trăm. To say 300: it’s simply ba + trăm; 500: năm trăm. Exactly the same as in English.

In English, the number 152 is: one hundred and fifty two, where the and between the hundred-unit and the rest is normally used in British English but not in American English. In Vietnamese, it’s truely up to you: not unusual to use it and not unusual not to use it. So 152 is một trăm năm (mươi) hai, with or without the word mươi.

How would you say 103? It’s one hundred and three, right? The same rule as for saying 152 above. In Vietnamese, however, we need to insert the word lẻ before the number 3 so that it’s said: một trăm lẻ ba. This is due to the 0 before the number 3. How about 105?
(Note: As pointed out by Grant Smith in a comment below, in the Northern area of Vietnam, people may also use the word “linh” in the place of “lẻ” above: “linh” is a word adapted from Chinese).

Let’s practice a little. How would you say 190? It’s 100 + 90 = một trăm + chín mươi.

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

Why not finish this section with the biggest 3-digit number 999? How would you say it? The table below shows the answer.

Number 999
English nine hundred and ninety nine
Vietnamese chín trăm chín mươi chín

Say a big number?

By now, you have known all the necessary pieces to say any number. Are you aware of it?

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

Unit English Vietnamese
100 hundred trăm
1000 thousand nghìn or ngàn
1000000 million triệu
1000000000 billion tỷ

Now, how would you say a number like 15603? It’s not difficult: say it in English and then simply translate the English units and numbers you’ve learned in the previous 2 sections to Vietnamese. This works simply because Vietnamese and English share the same way of saying number.

Let’s take a drill. How to say 15603 in Vietnamese?

Number 15603
English fifteen thousand six hundred and three
Vietnamese mười lăm nghìn sáu trăm lẻ ba

The only note here is that due to the 0 before the last digit 3, we need the word lẻ.

You can also check your answer using the automatic numbers speller. It also contains the mapping between English and Vietnamese.

How about 5063? Tread carefully here.


Number 5063
English five thousand and sixty three
Vietnamese năm nghìn không trăm sáu mươi ba

As we’ve already learned, there is no need to say the equivalent of and in Vietnamese. You should have been surprised about the word không right in front of trăm. Recall that for a number 063 or simply 63, it’s said simply as sáu mươi ba, not không trăm sáu mươi ba. But when the 0 at the hundred-unit is preceded by higher scales such as thousand or million, etc. it becomes necessary to say explicitly the 0 at the hundredh-unit.

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

Next example: 502305

Number 502305
English five hundred and two thousand three hundred and five
Vietnamese năm trăm lẻ hai nghìn ba trăm lẻ năm

As you might have realized saying such as big number as 502305 is just a matter of: < saying 502 > + thousand + < saying 305 >. This is why knowing how to say till 999 is enough for you to cope with any number.

Let’s practice with a bigger number: 62003100

Number 62003100
English sixty two million three thousand and one hundred
Vietnamese sáu hai triệu ba nghìn một trăm

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

And to graduate from this tutorial on cardinal numbers, put yourself to test with this really, really big number: 99,999,999,999. Give it a try before you look at the answer.

Number 99999999999
English ninety nine billion nine hundred and ninety nine million nine hundred and ninety nine thousand and nine hundred and ninety nine
Vietnamese chín mươi chín tỷ chín trăm chín mươi chín triệu chín trăm chín mươi chín nghìn chín trăm chín mươi chín

And don’t forget to use the automatic numbers pronouncer to help you master Vietnamese numbers.

Say ordinal numbers in Vietnamese

This lesson has been quite long, so you’ll see a magic formula below:

To say ordinal number: thứ + < Ordinal number >

Wonderful! This means to say 22nd, you’ll say thứ + hai mươi hai. Short and sweet for ordinals in Vietnamese.

Of course, exceptions are to be expected. Luckily, only one: 1st is thứ nhất instead of thứ một.