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Should numbers above 15 be spelled as a single word (diecisiete, veintidos, etc.) or multiple words (diez y siete, veinte y dos, etc). Does the Real Academia Española have a official opinion on the matter? What is the most common usage currently?

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I just read an article online that refers to this question. I am quoting it below for completeness. In summary, besides the traditional form, it is also valid to use forms such as cuarentaicinco, setentaitres, etc.

La norma para escribir los números cardinales decía que a partir de treinta y uno iban separados, cuarenta y ocho, sesenta y nueve, noventa y tres, excepto, claro está, los redondos, cuarenta, sesenta, noventa.

La Ortografía del 2010 admite ahora la escritura de esos números en una sola palabra, cuarentaicuatro, cincuentainueve, sesentaisiete, pero mantiene como válida la tradicional, cuarenta y cuatro, cincuenta y nueve, sesenta y siete. Observe que en cualquier caso son incorrectas las formas trentisiete, cuarenticuatro, cincuentinueve, que tanto se oyen en la radio cuando dan la hora.

Source: http://www.eltiempo.com/vida-de-hoy/educacion/consejos-de-ortografia_10934724-4

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The Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas has the official answer (unless the new Ortografía has changed it):

A single word up to veintinueve, then multiple words:

  • treinta y tres
  • ciento cuarenta y cuatro
  • quinientos dieciocho
  • ciento tres mil cuarenta y tres
  • ...
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+1 for link to the official RAE guidelines. –  mjuarez Feb 10 '13 at 23:57
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It's a single word up from dieciseis to veintinueve, then multiple words (treinta y...)

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I don't think it's that simple. A Google search for "diez y seis" shows over a million results. –  jrdioko Nov 17 '11 at 0:27
    
If you look at the search results for "diez y seis", they all refer to a particular event. Dieciseis is the accepted modern spelling. –  Diego Mijelshon Nov 17 '11 at 0:30
2  
@jrdioko jf you look here books.google.com/ngrams/… , "diez y seis" was widely used in the past. –  dusan Nov 17 '11 at 1:02
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