Fourty or forty? Which is correct?
40 is the number that follows 39 and precedes 41. Pretty straightforward when it comes to the meaning, but do you know how to spell this number? Everyone has certainly come across two versions of its spelling, but which one is correct? Is it fourty or forty? Is this one of the words in English that have multiple spellings? Or perhaps both variants are acceptable, though with geographical differences? Read this article if you are looking for the answers to these questions and would like to find out which form was used by Shakespeare!
Fourty or forty? Which one is correct?
40 is related to number 4 which is spelled with “u” – four, so the obvious choice would be to write fourty, but this is actually false! Moreover, it often seems to many people that fourty is conventional in British English while forty is the Americanized variant like in the case of colour and color, but this is also incorrect, as forty is the only acceptable spelling of number 40 in all English variants.
More interesting facts about forty
As you can see, there is glaring inconsistency between the spelling of the numbers that contain the number four. To make it even more confusing, the number 14 keeps the “u”, so we have: four (4) and fourteen (14), but forty (40). It had many different spellings over the centuries, and the current spelling of forty without “u” dates to the 16th century. Did you know that William Shakespeare himself spelled it without “u”?
Fourty or forty? The correct form
Fourty or forty? Now you know that the only correct form of the number 40 is forty, but what will be the best way to make sure you never make this common error again? Well, as no rule applies here and the correct spelling is not at all intuitive, the best solution is to memorize it! The below examples will be of a big help.
Fourty or forty? Examples from the literature and press
How tastes it? is it bitter? forty pence, no.
William Shakespeare, Henry VIII
He was large and relaxed, about forty, with gray hair and a froglike mouth.
Donna Tartt, The Secret History
The car was to pick us up at the hotel in forty minutes, and we stopped at the café on the square where we had eaten breakfast, and had a beer.
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises