Fourty or Forty – What’s the Correct Spelling of 40?

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The spelling of numbers has caused confusion for many people and always will because there are a few issues with some numbers when they’re in written form—like the number 40. Is it forty or fourty? I’ll explain why it’s spelled the way it is, plus show you how to write it in a sentence.

Is It Fourty or Forty? The Spelling of 40 Unveiled

Fourty or Forty Whats the Correct Spelling of 40

So, even though the number four is spelled with a “u,” the correct spelling you should use for 40 is, in fact, “forty”—no “u” in sight. “Fourty” isn’t an alternative spelling. Sure, it might seem counterintuitive initially, but this spelling is the one you’ll find in dictionaries and the best grammar guides, making it the widely accepted and standardized form in English-speaking countries.

Why Is 40 Spelled Forty and Not Fourty?

Forty vs. Fourty Ngram
Forty and fourty usage trend.

The simple reason behind the spelling of 40 as forty and not fourty comes from the history of the English language. Old English, which is what Modern English is derived, used the word “feowertig” to represent the written number 40. Then the language just evolved over time, and the pronunciation and spelling obviously changed. The “u” was eventually dropped in favor of the more modern and streamlined “forty.”

Is It Forty-One or Fourty One? And How to Use the Hyphen

Listen up. This rule applies to all compound numbers. When you write the numerical word for 40, it’s “forty,” but when it comes to the next nine numbers after it, you need to hyphenate them. So, it’s forty-one, forty-two, forty-three, forty-four, and so on.

Side note, you’d also use a hyphen when using the word “forty” in conjunction with a noun as an adjective, like “forty-year high” or “forty-year-old.”

Forty Examples in a Sentence

Fourty or Forty Whats the Correct Spelling of 40 1

Here are ten sentences using the word “forty” to help you familiarize yourself with its proper usage:

  • Last weekend, my mother celebrated her forty-year high school reunion and came home with the most successful award.
  • I was surprised to see there were forty people in attendance at my discussion panel on writing.
  • Jack scored an impressive forty points in last week’s soccer game.
  • I quickly changed my plans when I saw the recipe called for forty grams of sugar.
  • It takes approximately forty minutes to drive from my house to the airport, but we should allow more time in case of traffic.
  • The temperature reached a sweltering forty degrees Celsius today, so I stayed inside where there was AC.
  • Amy completed the marathon she’d trained for in three hours and forty minutes.
  • The bookstore is offering a forty percent discount on all books and bookish merch this weekend.
  • The new building they’re putting up downtown will be forty stories tall.
  • He’s been working at the printing company for over forty years, and now they’re closing down.

The Verdict on Forty

So, whenever you find yourself writing out the number 40, just remember to omit the “u” and stick with “forty” if you want to remain grammatically correct. “Fourty” is the incorrect spelling. Writing numbers is usually easy, but there are a few tricky ones like this, so watch out.

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