Exploring maths through problem solving

Problem of the Week

Reading out loud

How would you go about reading this number out loud?


Numbers are read from left to right, in groups of 3 digits.

They could be thought of as place-value houses with each house broken into hundreds, tens, and ones (see https://nzmaths.co.nz/resource/place-value-houses)

The first house is the first 3 digits from the right: ones (O), tens (T) and hundreds (H).

The second 3 digits are in the thousands house.

The third 3 digits are in the millions house.

The fourth 3 digits are in the billions house.

After this comes trillions, quadrillions and quintillions houses.

The ‘houses’ in the number should be separated by a small space (not by a comma).

The first 2 digits are in the fifth house – the trillions house.

The number is 23 trillion, 109 billion, 723 million, 424 thousand, and twenty-seven.


The photo of the sign was taken in the United States in early 2020.

The Unites States’ debt is now well over 30 trillion US dollars.


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