Roman Numerals

Long ago, the Romans conquered most of Britain, stayed a while and then they went home again. They left behind many things that we can see today. For example, I am from a city in the UK called Manchester, maybe you’ve heard of it? Well that name is derived from the Roman name Mancunium and this was the name of a Roman fort the Romans built in what is now the city centre of Manchester, in AD79. If you ever visit Manchester you can walk among the ruined walls (see pics). In fact, the ending -CESTER seen in many place names in the UK, will be places founded by the Romans or at least will have had their names influenced by Romans even if they were not actually founded by them e.g. London/Londinium.

We still use the Roman numbering system on some clocks, watches, in books and to date films and television programmes. British monarchs are listed with Roman numerals after their names too e.g. Henry VIII and Elizabeth II. Where else do you think we can find Roman numerals?

If you’re fairly new to learning English and you’ve come across these numbers (that actually use letters not numbers – super confusing!) then you should find this post helpful. If you’re a more seasoned learner, you might still find it a useful reminder.


1 = I

2 = II

3 = III

4 = IV

5 = V

6 = VI

7 = VII

8 = VIII

9 = IX

10 = X

11 = XI

12 = XII

13 = XIII

14 = XIV

15 = XV

16 = XVI

17 = XVII

18 = XIII

19 = XIX

20 = XX

30 = XXX

40 = XL

50 = L

60 = LX

70 = LXX

80 = LXXX

90 = XC

100 = C

500 = D

1000 = M

Just to show you how it works here’s an example. The current Queen of England, Elizabeth II, was crowned in 1952 and we usually use CARDINAL numbers to show this and many other dates. (I will cover cardinal numbers in a future post).

In Roman numerals 1952 = MCMLII

That’s M (1000) C (500) which when placed before the second M makes 900

Then an L (50) and two II (2)

See if you can write your birthday and other dates that are important by using Roman numerals.

Please share this post if you found it helpful and definitely share it if you found it interesting!


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