Numbers are fascinating for so many different reasons. They are used to count, measure, label, symbolize, coding, ordering; they’re used to calculate with negative numbers (How can a number be less than nothing?) rational, numbers, complex numbers, and real numbers. Numbers has cultural significance, metaphoric principles, and mystical attributes. We use numbers to delineate fractions and percentages; decimals and scientific notation; ordinal and cardinal; and, of course, the infinitesimal. In fact, numbers may be the single, most-significant reality of the physical world and the human mind. They, single-handedly, have enabled humanity to transform both the physical world and the human experience through technological means.
Having said all of that, what makes numbers fascinating to me, as a tutor of the English language, is that there are various forms of a number recognized. There’s the universal number itself. Take for example: the number “1”. Good enough, but did we really have to invent the word “one”? How’s that helping things? And then we went on and created the roman numeral “I”. (Maybe, it came before “1”.) Isn’t that supposed to be a capital “I”? You know, the letter. And then, we had to go and create “first”. Well, I mean, what’s next?
Bottom line is that tutors just need to stay focused on what’s in front of them. Chances are the student knows their numbers; they just don’t know the English words for those numbers. That’s what you go after; “1” is “one’, “2” is “two”, and “1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000” is “a cazillion”!