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Author Topic: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers  (Read 2252 times)

KCRoadFan

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Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« on: July 05, 2020, 03:11:34 AM »

Hi, so I was wondering: how exactly might five-digit address numbers be pronounced?

As an example of this, one of the aquatic centers I like to visit in the KC area has an address of 13805 Johnson Drive. There are a variety of ways that someone could say that number:

  • 'thirteen thousand, eight-o-five' (whole number)
  • 'thirteen, eight-o-five' (break at the thousands place)
  • 'one-thirty-eight-o-five' (break at the hundreds place, like with most three- and four-digit addresses)
  • 'one-three-eight-o-five' (each digit pronounced individually)

I would like to know: what method of pronunciation do you prefer, and what do you hear most often? I'm guessing it may well vary depending on what the exact number is. Also, are there any sort of local or regional tendencies that you perceive? I'm eager to find out more about all that!
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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2020, 03:30:16 AM »

Most times I hear a 5-digit address, it is like your 2nd choice, "thirteen, eight-o-five".  Occasionally, I might hear the last choice, but that's likely from a TV/radio reporter or anchor, or an announcer.  I never hear the 3rd one.  The first one might be heard in the off-chance of an address being an even number with zeros ("ten thousand", "thirteen thousand"), but there's not that many of those.
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CNGL-Leudimin

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2020, 04:14:37 AM »

Easy: there are no five-digit address numbers in Spain (and I'd say most, if not all, of Europe as well) :sombrero:, as that would require a ridiculously long street (in the order of 60 miles). Even four-digit address numbers are really rare, I know only two instances of streets running into four digits, and one is a suburban road.
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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2020, 06:19:40 AM »

In your example, I would say "thirteen eight-o-five". When my brother still lived in Omaha, his address number was "fourteen one-twelve". I knew other people with 5 digits in their address and that was the format they all used.
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GaryV

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2020, 07:08:36 AM »

address being an even number with zeros ("ten thousand", "thirteen thousand"), but there's not that many of those.

Or if there's a number of zeros in the middle.  That applies even for 4-digit numbers.

For example, 4002 Main St might be pronounced "forty oh two" or "four thousand two".

20092 Main St might be pronounced "twenty oh ninety two" or "twenty thousand ninety two".

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Flint1979

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2020, 09:22:12 AM »

I would say a number like 17850 as 17 then 850.
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debragga

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2020, 09:38:31 AM »

When I was a kid I lived at 10433, we always said ten-four-thirty-three
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2020, 09:50:33 AM »

I’ve always pronounced all five numbers individually so there’s no confusion.
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TEG24601

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2020, 10:50:24 AM »

My employer's address is 14888.  We usually say "fourteen, eight, eighty, eight" or "fourteen, triple/tribble eight".
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1995hoo

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2020, 11:13:10 AM »

For me it would depend on the situation in which I were to pronounce it—which, incidentally, is also the principle I follow with regard to four-digit numbers (our address has a four-digit number). If I’m giving the address over the phone, I pronounce each digit individually to avoid possible ambiguity or misheard numbers (so, using the OP's example, "one three eight zero five"—"zero," never "oh"). I don’t, however, use "niner" for nine because it confuses too many people (the same people who get confused if you use "bravo" for "B" instead of saying "'b' as in 'boy'").

If I’m just speaking to someone face to face, such as a neighbor, I might use a different form. Addresses in our neighborhood are four digits in the 6600 range, so I might say "sixty-six fifty-one." (Of course, with a neighbor who knows the area there’s less risk of ambiguity than there is if you’re talking to, say, a deliveryman over the phone.) If I were giving the White House's address, I’d say "sixteen hundred Pennsylvania Avenue NW." Or the house we lived in when I was born might be "ten-oh-eight" (1008).

It also makes a difference if I know I’m speaking to someone for whom English is not the first language, such as many deliverymen. For them, I’ll always pronounce each digit. It just makes it easier for both of us.



The examples GaryV offers remind me of how people in Washington DC pronounce some of the ZIP Codes. A lot of them pronounce "20005" not as "two zero zero zero five" but as "two thousand five." That always throws me off, even though I know they do it, because that number is actually twenty thousand five, not two thousand five. Other than that, I think I’ve almost always heard ZIP Codes said as a series of five digits. Same in most cases for area codes—almost everyone I know has always pronounced the three digits separately except for some people in Maryland who call the four-one-zero area code "four-ten," so the phone number 410-238-3395 would, to those people, be "four-ten two-three-eight three-three-nine-five."
« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 11:18:16 AM by 1995hoo »
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tallfull

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2020, 12:21:42 PM »

I have a five-digit address number, 23410. Almost always, I say it two-three-four-one-zero. Probably, this is because if I'm saying it to someone, it's because they are writing it down, and I want them to get it correct. On the rare occasion that I don't say each number, such as in a casual conversation with a neighbor, I would say twenty-three-four-ten.
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Big John

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2020, 12:41:39 PM »

I use each individually.  It doesn't "sound" right to do it any other way.
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machias

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2020, 08:38:32 PM »

Why wouldn't you say it any differently than a US Zip Code?  I generally hear them pronounced per digit, though the old album ads for Ktel used to say Huntington Station, N.Y. 1-double oh-something something
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2020, 09:57:54 PM »

I usually say my house address as 4 individual numbers (ie: two three seven seven). Most others seem to say it as two numbers (twenty-three seventy-seven).

The last 4 of my phone number...same thing.
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jay8g

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2020, 12:36:38 AM »

I'd normally break it after the first 3 digits, since the first three refer to the street at the start of the block (similar to what I'd do for three- and four-digit addresses), or alternatively as 5 separate numbers. Most people I know use one of those two methods, also.

My current address is a little odd, however, and I'm not entirely sure why. Let's just say it's 13013 (don't want to give my real address, but that's close enough for this discussion). I'd pronounce it as "one thirty thirteen", but a lot of people pronounce it as "thirteen oh thirteen", which has always seemed a little strange to me.
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skluth

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2020, 02:05:58 AM »

Easy: there are no five-digit address numbers in Spain (and I'd say most, if not all, of Europe as well) :sombrero:, as that would require a ridiculously long street (in the order of 60 miles). Even four-digit address numbers are really rare, I know only two instances of streets running into four digits, and one is a suburban road.

Five-digit addresses are fairly common, especially the further west you go in the US. Most postcolonial US cities have some sort of N-S-E-W grid system, even when they're skewed like Green Bay or St Louis. Numbers get higher away from the center and standardized numbers get higher the further away from the center you go. Addresses in the newer developed parts of West St Louis County get well above 10000 because someone, possibly the postal service, needed to create addresses for unincorporated areas as suburbs grew. The older suburbs typically have their own smaller grids, but their grids rarely go beyond their incorporated limits.

I now live in SoCal and I think the grid extends from the county seat in Riverside, with again some local exceptions. The  LaQuinta Costco was built in what was a largely rural area of date farms and winter crops; it's address is 79795 CA-111.

On the topic, I don't really give it any thought. I'd probably say all five numbers individually if the number was unfamiliar, but I've never noticed a pattern. If it were my address, I would likely break it up into groups as I've always done. Three-digit addresses are six-22 (622) and four digits 54-27 (5427). I haven't noticed a pattern in others.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2020, 02:36:25 AM by skluth »
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michravera

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2020, 02:46:40 AM »

Hi, so I was wondering: how exactly might five-digit address numbers be pronounced?

As an example of this, one of the aquatic centers I like to visit in the KC area has an address of 13805 Johnson Drive. There are a variety of ways that someone could say that number:

  • 'thirteen thousand, eight-o-five' (whole number)
  • 'thirteen, eight-o-five' (break at the thousands place)
  • 'one-thirty-eight-o-five' (break at the hundreds place, like with most three- and four-digit addresses)
  • 'one-three-eight-o-five' (each digit pronounced individually)

I would like to know: what method of pronunciation do you prefer, and what do you hear most often? I'm guessing it may well vary depending on what the exact number is. Also, are there any sort of local or regional tendencies that you perceive? I'm eager to find out more about all that!

I live in southern Alameda County, CA where 5-digit addresses are the norm rather than exceptional.

Most people here seem to pronounce them as they would if they were the price of a car: "Thirty-Three Eight-Oh-Five" or as single digits "Three-Three-Eight-Zero-Five". As a pilot, I was taught that identifiers are passed as single digits. Otherwise it would be "Three-Three Thousand Eight Hundred Five". Four digit addresses are typically broken in hundreds: "Eighty-one twenty-six".

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1995hoo

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2020, 07:39:54 AM »

I usually say my house address as 4 individual numbers (ie: two three seven seven). Most others seem to say it as two numbers (twenty-three seventy-seven).

The last 4 of my phone number...same thing.

I think one reason I find it weird to say a phone number as anything other than individual digits is that the individual digits are what you dial (or program into your contacts). You don’t dial "four-ten," you dial "four-one-zero," for example.

Supposedly that’s one reason why 911 is pronounced as nine-one-one and not nine-eleven—they were worried that children and stupid people would waste time looking for a nonexistent eleven on the phone dial instead of understanding to dial two "ones," so when they started promoting it, they made a conscious effort to promote it as three digits.
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WillWeaverRVA

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2020, 10:27:21 AM »

I usually pronounce each number individually nowadays since it's least confusing for most people. I grew up in a neighborhood with block numbers in the hundreds, though, and usually pronounced them like "one-forty" for 140.
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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2020, 11:08:12 AM »

When I lived at a 5-digit address (10138) I always said "one - oh - one - three - eight" (yes, I know it should be zero, but everyone understands the oh)
However when I lived at 3927, I always said "thirty-nine twenty-seven"

I now live at 5300 and I say "fifty-three hundred"
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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2020, 11:38:24 AM »

I also grew up in an area where 5-digit addresses were the norm, and we pronounced each digit individually ("one-eight-three-eight-three").

Santa Clara County (CA) addresses *start* at 10000, unless you are in a city that defines its own numbering system.
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1995hoo

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2020, 11:43:46 AM »

I usually pronounce each number individually nowadays since it's least confusing for most people. I grew up in a neighborhood with block numbers in the hundreds, though, and usually pronounced them like "one-forty" for 140.

I grew up in a neighborhood with four-digit numbers and most people said them as two-digit combinations, e.g., 8378 would be "eighty-three seventy-eight."
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"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

doorknob60

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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2020, 01:24:21 PM »

I've lived at a 19711 and a 60893, and in both cases I'd always pronounce each number separately. Sounds weird to me any other way.

My current address is a 4 digit though (not going to disclose it), and I say it like 2 pairs of 2 digit numbers, though there is a zero that I say like "oh 2" for 02 (for example). If I'm ever on the phone or something and I need to be extra clear, I still say each number individually, and say "zero" instead of "oh".

My guess is that we instinctively say 5 digit street addresses in the same way we say zip codes, which for me has always been each number individually (eg. 90210).
« Last Edit: July 06, 2020, 01:27:52 PM by doorknob60 »
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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2020, 02:30:12 PM »

How I would say them:

13805 = one three eight o five (to be clear)
13805 = one thirty-eight o five (to indicate, possibly, that it's near 138th Street)

20092 = two double-o nine 2

17850 = one seven eight five o (to be clear)
17850 = one seventy-eight fifty (to indicate, possibly, that it's near 178th Street)
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Re: Pronouncing five-digit address numbers
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2020, 03:25:18 PM »

Five-digit address numbers aren't very common in this area (not sure that there are any in my county at all), and if they do exist they're not related to a block-numbering scheme, so it wouldn't make much sense to say, e.g., 16384 as "one sixty-three eighty-four". I'd say "sixteen three eighty-four" instead.
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