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Cien vs ciento vs cientos

Let’s learn how to count to 999 in Spanish! We’ll learn the words for one hundred, two hundred, three hundred, and so on. We’ll also learn some other things you can do with the words cien, ciento, and cientos in Spanish.

Full Podcast Episode


Hay cientos y cientos.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn how to say “hundred” in Spanish, which is going to blow up what we can do with numbers. We already know how to count to 99 in Spanish, and after today’s episode, we’ll be able to count all the way to 999.

The basic word for “one hundred” is cien, spelled c-i-e-n. So for example:

There are a hundred boxes in her house.

Hay cien cajas en su casa.

But this number actually changes based on how it’s used. So if you’re combining cien with another number to make something greater than a hundred, you’ll use ciento, spelled c-i-e-n-t-o. So for example, let’s say we’re talking about the number one hundred and five. In Spanish, this is ciento cinco. Notice that the “and” disappears. Try it yourself in this next example:

At the party there were a hundred and fifty people.

​​En la fiesta había ciento cincuenta personas.

OK, with just this, we can already count from 1 to 199. Let’s go ahead and get some practice with these numbers. In these examples in this quiz, we’ve chosen random numbers between 100 and 199. Try to predict the Spanish.

There are a hundred and sixty-one cars here.

Hay ciento sesenta y un autos aquí.

Count to a hundred and ten.

Cuenta hasta ciento diez.

This is a hundred and seventy-seven dollars.

Esto es ciento setenta y siete dólares.

Did you say a hundred and forty-eight or a hundred and eighty-nine? I don’t remember.

¿Dijiste ciento cuarenta y ocho o ciento ochenta y nueve? No recuerdo.

If she shuts up we can hear all the hundred and twenty-four people.

Si ella se calla podemos escuchar a todas las ciento y veinticuatro personas.

All right, now how about numbers that are greater than 199? Check this out:

We counted two hundred cars.

Contamos doscientos autos.

So the word we have here is doscientos, which is simply a combination of dos and cientos. Try it yourself with a few more numbers:

There were three hundred medics at the event.

Había trescientos médicos en el evento.

I have finished four hundred projects this year.

He terminado cuatrocientos proyectos este año.

Did you say six hundred or eight hundred?

¿Dijiste seiscientos u ochocientos?

All right, now note that this is a little bit tricky, because some of the numbers change when combined with cientos. The first one that changes is “five hundred”. We would expect this to be “cincocientos”, based on the word cinco. But the actual word is quinientos, beginning with q-u-i-n, so it sounds more closely related to the word for “fifteen”, which is quince. And this one doesn’t even have the full word cientos in it; it’s just quinientos.

So here’s what it sounds like to count by hundreds to five hundred:

Cien, doscientos, trescientos, cuatrocientos, quinientos.

After that, “six hundred” is normal; it’s seiscientos. But the word for “seven hundred” ends up being setecientos, which sounds more similar to setenta, our word for “seventy”. Then the word for “eight hundred” is normal, it’s ochocientos. But the word for “nine hundred” is novecientos, kind of like the word noventa. So listen to Michael count by hundreds from six hundred to nine hundred.

Seiscientos, setecientos, ochocientos, novecientos.

And here’s another note about these numbers: Unlike most numbers, the cientos starting with 200 actually have to agree with the noun that they correspond to. Doscientos changes to doscientas, quinientos changes to quinientas, and so on. So for example:

There are two hundred and five people here.

Hay doscientas cinco personas aquí.

Also note that this rule doesn’t apply to cien or ciento. For example:

There are one hundred and five people here.

Hay ciento cinco personas aquí.

Let’s practice using our new numbers.

You have the number four hundred and sixteen on your forehead.

Tienes el número cuatrocientos dieciséis en la frente.

I have seven hundred dollars and you have six hundred and seventy-seven.

Tengo setecientos dólares y tú tienes seiscientos setenta y siete.

He is afraid that this is more than five hundred dollars.

Él se teme que esto es más de quinientos dólares.

It’s three hundred and fifty-three dollars in order for a medic to see my ears.

Son trescientos cincuenta y tres dólares para que un médico vea mis oídos.

My brain can’t come up with anything except the number two hundred and twenty-five.

A mi cerebro no se le ocurre nada excepto el número doscientos veinticinco.

We have done eight hundred and ninety-two projects; we’ll arrive at nine hundred soon.

Hemos hecho ochocientos noventa y dos proyectos, llegaremos a novecientos pronto.

Next, let’s do a comprehension quiz. I’ve chosen some randomized numbers between 100 and 999, and we’ve incorporated them into these sentence examples. Try to see if you can understand the Spanish, including the correct number, when you hear it.

Había cuatrocientos treinta y una personas en la fiesta.

There were four hundred and one people at the party.

¿Crees que quinientos cincuenta y cuatro son suficientes?

Do you think five hundred and fifty-four are enough?

Este lugar tiene ochocientos cuarenta y tres perros.

This place has eight hundred and forty-three dogs.

Hemos estado peleando por novecientos setenta y seis días.

We’ve been fighting for nine hundred seventy-six days.

El médico me dijo que la medicina será setecientos doce dólares.

The medic told me the medicine will be seven hundred and twelve dollars.

Te daré trescientos veintisiete dólares para que te calles.

I’ll give you three hundred and twenty-seven dollars for you to shut up.

¡Cállese o no podrá escuchar todas las seiscientas ochenta y ocho canciones!

(Formal) Shut up or you won’t be able to listen to all six hundred and eighty-eight songs!

Este año tenemos ciento sesenta y nueve proyectos, pero el próximo tendremos doscientos noventa y cinco.

This year we have one hundred sixty-nine projects, but the next one we’ll have two hundred and ninety-five.

Before we go on to today’s final quiz, let’s learn a couple of idiomatic uses of our new words.

First of all, it’s pretty common to say cientos, by itself, to mean “hundreds”. For example:

There are hundreds of places like this one.

Hay cientos de lugares como este.

Remember that unlike doscientos and trescientos, the word cientos doesn’t change gender based on the noun it describes. So here’s another interesting example of cientos along with a feminine noun.

There are hundreds and hundreds of boxes.

Hay cientos y cientos de cajas.

Next, to say “percent” in Spanish, you’ll say por ciento, literally “by hundred” or “per hundred”. So for example:

This food is fifty percent water.

Esta comida es cincuenta por ciento agua.

Try it yourself with a couple of examples:

It lost thirty percent of its weight.

Perdió el treinta por ciento de su peso.

The new house is three hundred percent bigger.

La nueva casa es un trescientos por ciento más grande.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/213. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

You fight two hundred times next year.

Peleas doscientas veces el próximo año.

Do you fear fighting?

¿Temes pelear?

She hasn’t shut up for over one hundred minutes.

No se ha callado por más de cien minutos.

I have seven hundred and seventy-one dollars and I need nine hundred.

Tengo setecientos setenta y un dólares y necesito novecientos.

Shut up! I’ve told you this four hundred times already.

¡Cállate! Ya te he dicho esto cuatrocientas veces.

My arm isn’t well, but the nurse(f) doesn’t want me to fear.

Mi brazo no está bien, pero la enfermera no quiere que yo tema.

I’ve seen this movie like two hundred eighty-four times.

He visto esta película como doscientas ochenta y cuatro veces.

Your health is worth more than five hundred and twenty-nine dollars.

Tu salud vale más de quinientos veintinueve dólares.

I think one hundred is fine, but five hundred is too much.

Creo que cien está bien, pero quinientos es demasiado.

Money is missing, eight hundred and sixty-six pesos.

Falta dinero, ochocientos sesenta y seis pesos.

I don’t want him to shut up if he speaks from his soul.

No quiero que se calle si habla desde el alma.

There are hundreds of people here, like eight hundred.

Hay cientos de personas aquí, como ochocientas.

He feared the drop was three hundred percent.

Él temía que la baja fuera trescientos por ciento.

It went from four hundred and thirty-two to six hundred and thirteen.

Fue de cuatrocientos treinta y dos a seiscientos trece.

(Plural) Shut up unless you know how to make this seven hundred percent better.

Callénse a menos que sepan cómo hacer esto setecientos por ciento mejor.

Hundreds of dogs are missing.

Faltan cientos de perros.

She doesn’t have to fear a heart attack.

No tiene que temer un ataque al corazón.

I don’t want him to fear that like I fear it.

No quiero que él tema eso como yo lo temo.

I feared being sick, but my ear(external) was fine.

Temía estar enfermo, pero mi oreja estaba bien.

Is it one hundred and ninety-eight or three hundred and fifty-five?

¿Son ciento noventa y ocho o trescientos cincuenta y cinco?

My nose and my hair are weird because of the illness.

Mi cabello y mi nariz están extraños por la enfermedad.

If she fights, it might be bad for her leg.

Si pelea, puede ser malo para su pierna.

He wants me to shut up, he told me that like six hundred times.

Quiere que me calle, me dijo eso como seiscientas veces.

I’m afraid nine hundred and forty-seven dollars is not enough.

Me temo que novecientos cuarenta y siete dólares no son suficientes.

She has a beautiful voice and hair.

Tiene una voz y un cabello bellos.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/213.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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