## Unit 25: Against the odds

Linking devices of contrast

Select a unit

- 1 Pop-ups
- 2 Hidden talents
- 3 Can't buy me love
- 4 Travellers' tales
- 5 The colleague from hell
- 6 Jurassic mystery: unpacking the past
- 7 Career changes
- 8 Art
- 9 Project management
- 10 The dog ate my homework!
- 11 The diary of a double agent
- 12 Fashion forward
- 13 Flat pack skyscrapers
- 14 Extreme sports
- 15 Food fads
- 16 Me, my selfie and I
- 17 Endangered animals
- 18 A nip and a tuck: cosmetic surgery
- 19 I'm really sorry...
- 20 Telling stories
- 21 Fakes and phrasals
- 22 Looking to the future
- 23 Becoming familiar with things
- 24 From rags to riches
- 25 Against the odds
- 26 Our future on Mars?
- 27 Where is it illegal to get a fish drunk?
- 28 Dodgy dating
- 29 Annoying advice
- 30 I'll have been studying English for thirty weeks

## Session 1

What's the biggest number you know in your language? Do you have a word that isn't an actual number but means a really really big number? In this session we have some fun facts and figures about big numbers and also advice on how to pronounce and write them.

## Activity 1

### 6 Minute Vocabulary

### Large numbers

In this edition of 6 Minute Vocabulary, Callum and Finn talk about big numbers in English: how to say them and how to refer to them indirectly. We also hear some impressive statistics about Russia.

Listen to the programme

**Callum **Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary with me Callum.

**Finn**

And me Finn. Today we’re talking about large numbers.

**Callum**

Particularly how we say and describe them in English. Here’s Anita, who’s giving a talk to a tour group visiting Russia.

**Finn**

Listen out for the answer to this question: How many metres high is Mount Elbrus?

**INSERT**

Anita

Russia is a land of superlatives! At over

Anita

**6,500,000**square miles, it's the largest country in the world. And the total area of cultivated land has been estimated as

**a six-figure number**: perhaps

**500,000**square miles. Its mountain ranges contain Mount Elbrus, which at

**5,642**metres is the highest point in both Russia and Europe. Of its rivers, which are

**in the hundreds of thousands**, the River Volga, the longest river in Europe, is the most well known. And what about the people? Well, here’s an interesting fact: the number of languages spoken in Russia is

**in triple figures**– yes, over 100!

**Callum**

So that was Anita. And we asked: How many metres high is Mount Elbrus?

**Finn**

And the answer is

**five thousand, six hundred and forty-two metres**high.

**Callum**

Which is a good example of our topic today. When saying a large number, we always begin with the biggest number first. So thousands, then hundreds, then tens. Tens means numbers with two digits in them, like

**forty-two**. Listen again.

Finn

Finn

**Five thousand, six hundred and forty-two**.

**And the other point is, that the number labels are always singular. So**

Callum

Callum

**five thousand**and not five thousands.

**Finn**

Six hundredand not six hundreds.

Six hundred

**Callum**

Exactly. Now, notice that we don’t connect thousands and hundreds with the word

**and**. It’s

**five thousand, six hundred**.

**Finn**

Not five thousand and six hundred.

**Callum**

But we do connect hundreds and tens with the word

**and.**So

**six hundred and forty-two.**And I think it’s time for our first clip.

**INSERT CLIP 1**

Russia is a land of superlatives! At over

**6,500,000**square miles, it's the largest country in the world. And the total area of cultivated land has been estimated as a

**six-figure number**: perhaps 500,000 square miles.

**Finn**

So we heard

**six million, five hundred thousand**. Notice that we don’t connect millions to thousands with the word

**and**either, or in this case, millions to hundreds of thousands. We say it like this:

**six million, five hundred thousand**.

**Callum**

Now, how did Anita describe the figure

**500,000**?

**Finn**

She described it as

**a six-figure number**. Because it contains six digits. We could also say it’s

**a six-digit number**.

**Callum**

Yes, we sometimes describe a number in this way to emphasise how big it is. And it doesn’t have to be six. It could be a

**five-figure**or a

**four-figure**

**number**.

**Finn **Now, on to clip 2.

**Of its rivers, which are**

INSERT CLIP 2

INSERT CLIP 2

**in the hundreds of thousands**, the River Volga, the longest river in Europe, is the most well known. And what about the people? Well, here’s an interesting fact: the number of languages spoken in Russia is

**in triple figures**– yes, over 100!

**Callum**

So how did Anita describe the number of rivers in Russia?

**Finn**

She said they’re

**in the hundreds of thousands**.

**Callum**

When we want to describe approximately what a number is, we can say it’s

**in the tens, the hundreds, the thousands**and so on.

**Hundreds of thousands**means at least 100,000 and probably a lot more.

**So you could even say that a number is**

Finn

Finn

**in the tens of millions**.

**Callum**

There was also an interesting fact there about the number of languages spoken in Russia.

**Finn**

Anita said they’re

**in triple figures**. That means that the number contains three figures – so at least 100. It’s the same as saying that the number is

**in the hundreds**.

**IDENT**

6 Minute Vocabulary from bbclearningenglish.com.

**Callum**

And it’s quiz time! Number one: How do we say this number?

**8-9-2-1**. That’s

**8-9-2-1**.

**Finn**

It’s eight thousand, nine hundred and twenty-one.

**Callum**

Well done! Number two: What kind of number is

**300,000**? Is it: a) a five-figure number b) a six-figure number c) a six-figures number?

**inn**

It’s b) a six-figure number.

**Callum.**Correct! Number three: Listen to this number:

**19,242**. Is it a) in the thousands b) in the tens of thousands c) in the hundreds of thousands?

** Finn **This one is b) In the tens of thousands.

**Callum**

Excellent! How did you do? Very well done if you got them all right. There’s more on this topic at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

**Both**

Bye!

### Downloads

You can download 6 Minute Vocabulary from our Intermediate Unit 25 Downloads page. Remember, you can also subscribe to the podcast version.

**Vocabulary points to take away**

When saying a large number, always begin with the largest number first and use singular number labels:

**One million, two hundred thousand, four hundred and sixty-four**. (1,200,464)

Don’t use the word **and** to join millions and thousands or thousands and hundreds:

**Two million, fifty-six thousand, three hundred**. (2,056,300)

But do use the word **and** to join hundreds and tens (tens are two-digit numbers):

**Fifty-six thousand, three hundred and eleven**. (56,311)

We sometimes emphasise how big a number is by counting the number of digits it has and describing it as **a four-figure/five-figure** or **six-figure number:**

- I’m not sure what he earns, but it’s certainly
**a six-figure number**. (100,000 - 999,000) - a
**six-figure salary**

To describe approximately what a number is, we can say it’s **in** **the tens/the hundreds/ the thousands/the millions**. For very big numbers a number can be **(in the)** **tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, tens of millions **and so on**:**

- They’ve cut
**hundreds of thousands**of pounds from the budget. - Their assets alone must be worth
**in the tens of millions**.

Another way of describing a number approximately is to say that it’s** in triple figures (100-999):**

- The number of emails waiting for me after my holiday was
**in triple figures.**

## Session Vocabulary

**Saying large numbers**Always begin with the largest number first. Use singular number labels:

**One million, two hundred thousand, four hundred and sixty-four**. (1,200,464)

Don’t use

**and**to join millions and thousands or thousands and hundreds:**Two million, fifty-six thousand, three hundred**. (2,056,300)

Use

**and**to join hundreds and tens:**Fifty-six thousand, three hundred and eleven**. (56,311)

Emphasise a big number by describing it as

**a four-figure/five-figure**or**six-figure number**:- I’m not sure what he earns, but it’s certainly
**a six-figure number**. - a
**six-figure salary**

We can say a number is

**in****the tens/the hundreds/the thousands/the millions**. For very big numbers a number can be**(in the)****tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, tens of millions**etc**:**- They’ve cut
**hundreds of thousands**of pounds from the budget. - Their assets alone must be worth
**in the tens of millions**.

We can say a number is

**in triple figures (100-999):**- The number of emails waiting for me after my holiday was
**in triple figures.**