2.1.2 Ways of Representing Numbers

Activity: Fourteen Million

About 1500 years ago, in an Indian book on cosmology called The Parts of the Universe, the number fourteen million, two hundred thirty-six thousand, seven hundred thirteen was written down. How would you write this number today?

Hint symbol


Okay, take this slowly. Be sure to change the words into numbers and that will help. Like this:

  • Fourteen is 14 and represents the ten and one millions.
  • Two hundred thirty-six is 236 and represents the hundred, ten, and one thousands.
  • Seven hundred thirteen is 713 and represents the hundreds, tens, and units (ones).
Solution symbol


We write numbers out like this:

Ten millionsMillions Hundred thousandsTen thousandsThousandsHundredsTensUnits

Thus, the number is written 14 236 713. Notice how leaving a small gap between each group of three digits makes the number easier to read. In the United States, we place commas between the groupings, like this: 14,236,713.

The table above is actually a place value table. You may have noticed that the value of each column is ten times the value of the column to its right. We’ll look at this in moment.

You can extend our number system indefinitely for larger whole numbers by adding extra columns on the left and labeling the columns as hundred millions, billions, ten billions, and so on.

2.1.1 Written Numbers Compared

2.1.3 Place Value