Mnemonics for millions, billions, trillions, quadrillions

Just heard this fantastic mnemonic memory trick by Brian Dunning (host of the Skeptoid Podcast) in Dr. Karl’s (BBC) Podcast.

How do you know if you’re talking about a trillion? Quadrillion? Quintillion? Sextillion?

Turns out it’s actually quite easy:

  • Count the number of zeros
  • Remove 3
  • Divide by 3 and interpret the result
    • 1 zero left (mono) => million
    • 2 (bi) => billion
    • 3 => trillion
    • 4 => quadrillion
    • 5 => quintillion
    • 6 => sextillion
    • 7 => septillion
    • 8 => octillion
    • 9 => nonillion
    • 10 => decillion
    • 11 => undecillion

Amazing isn’t it? It works for languages & countries that use the “Short Scale” (that is, English speaking countries and Brazil according to Wikipedia). A pity the rest of the World uses the French “Long Scale”, which has nothing logical to it 🙁

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