There are many words in Esperanto to describe a number:

  • Nombro
  • Kvanto
  • Numero
  • Grando
  • Cifero

What is the difference between them?


The difference between nombro and numero is that nombro refers to the number itself, as a concept, while numero refers purely to a label.

Ŝi havas grandan nombron da ekzemploj. She has a large number of examples.

Ŝi scias la nombron de vizitintoj. She knows the number of visitors [i.e. how many they had].

Note the distinction between da and de. By contrast, numero can only be followed by de:

Ŝi scias la numeron de la domo. She knows the number of the house.

As for the other words:

  • amplekso — size, extent, magnitude

  • cifero — digit, numeral symbol

  • grando — bigness, size

  • kvanto — quantity, amount

La amplekso de lia agado surprizis min. The extent of his activity surprised me.

La horloĝo portis romanajn ciferojn. The clock bore Roman numerals.

Tiu simbolo signifas skalaran grandon. That symbol denotes a scalar quantity [magnitude].

Mi notis zorge la grandon de la kolekto. I carefully wrote down the size of the collection.

Ili havis menciindan kvanton da vino. They had enough wine to be worth mentioning.

  • 2
    The word "cifero" is any single symbol used for writing numbers. So most commonly, "cifero" means "digit". But it can also refer to one of the letters used for writing Roman numerals. In English, however, "numeral" usually means the collection of symbols used to denote a number, rather than one of the symbols. For example, in the Wikipedia it say: 'a "j" has sometimes been substituted for the final "i" of a "lower-case" Roman numeral'. Here you couldn't use "cifero" for "numeral", as "numeral" refers to an expression consisting of multiple symbols. – Marcos Cramer Dec 19 '16 at 10:46
  • Mi ne komprenas kial vi skribis nombro de vizitintoj anstataŭ nombro da vizitintoj – user613 Jan 28 '18 at 14:30
  • Nombro: Number of objects or quantity of something - I have 5 pounds of cheese.
  • Kvanto: Quantity - I have a large quantity of cheese.
  • Numero: A regular number - What is the phone number of the cheese company?
  • Grando: Large - I have a large amount of cheese.
  • Cifero: Digit - How many digits are in a phone number.

The only difference between Esperanto and English in this regard is between Nombro (number to describe quantity) and Numero (actual number)

  • 1
    It is wrong to describe the meaning of "numero" as "mathematical number". A mathematical number is "nombro" in Esperanto. For example, you would say "ℕ estas la aro de naturaj nombroj". The word "numero" is only used for "number" when the number is just a code, i.e. just a sequence of digits that bear no relationship to the quantity or mathematical number that can be referred to with the same sequence of digits. – Marcos Cramer Dec 19 '16 at 10:49

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