Telephone Numbers in English

How to say telephone numbers in English


This is a telephone number.
In spoken English we normally say phone number instead of telephone number.

In English, we give telephones numbers by saying each individual number in it:

  • 3692-5847 = three six nine two, five eight four seven.

How to say 0 in a phone number

When there is a 0 (zero) in the telephone number, there are two ways of saying it:

The most common way is to pronounce the Zero like the name of the letter O (oh).

  • 5059-1023 = five oh five nine, one oh two three.

Sometimes in American English, the Zero is pronounced as Zero and not O.

  • 5059-1023 = five zero five nine, one zero two three.

However, you will also hear people say OH instead of Zero in American English.


Consecutive numbers

If a phone number contains two of the same numbers together, we usually say double (then that number):

  • 5718-3369 = five seven one eight, double three, six, nine.

If a phone number contains three of the same numbers together, we usually say triple (then that number):

  • 2149-8777 = two one four nine, eight triple seven.

However in many movies or TV series, the phone number that appears starts with 555… and they say these numbers individually as five, five, five… and not triple five. This is a fake phone number so people don’t call them. 555-3527 = five, five, five, three five, two seven.


How can you ask for someone’s telephone number?

If you want to know someone’s phone number, you can ask:

  • What’s your phone number?

We don’t normally say: What’s your telephone number? (Though it IS still correct)

The person will normally respond with:

  • It’s + the number.

What’s your phone number? It’s 295-7418


Mobile phone vs. Cell phone

Mobile phone is used in British English (and most of the rest of the world)
Cell phone is used in American English

Another way of asking for someone’s number is:

  • What’s your mobile number? OR
  • What’s your mobile phone number?
  • What’s your cell phone number?

 How to say telephone numbers in English

International phone numbers

An international phone number can be divided into different parts:
Country Code + Area Code + Local Number  

Country Code
The first number is the country code.
Sometimes it is one digit like the country code of the United States, which is 1, or the code for Russia which is 7.
Sometimes it is two digits like the country code of New Zealand which is 64.
Sometimes it is three digits like the country code of Ecuador which is 593.

Area Code
The area code identifies the town, region or specific area. For example, the area code of Auckland (NZ) is 9.

Local number
The local number is normally 7 or 8 numbers long, depending on the country.

64 9 9867 2134

So with the number that appears, 64 is the country code (of New Zealand), 9 is the area code (of the city of Auckland) 9867-2134 is the local number. (In reality NZ local numbers currently only have 7 digits)

Emergency Services numbers

Emergency services refers to when you need an ambulance, the fire brigade, or the police.
The emergency services phone number is a three-digit number that varies from country to country.

In the United Kingdom, you would call 999 in an emergency.
In United States, you would call 911 in an emergency (If you have seen any Hollywood movie, you probably already know this)
For most countries in Europe it is: 112.
For Australia it is 000.
For New Zealand it is 111.


What is the emergency phone in your country?
What is your phone number?

Lesson tags: British vs American, Numbers, Telephone
Back to: English Course > Numbers in English

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