Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Affiliate links cost you nothing to use and help keep my content free. It is a win-win for us both! For more info, see the Disclosure Policy.
Ever heard of the phrase “tens of thousands”? What does it mean exactly– 10,000, 20,000 50,000? 60,000 or more?
The truth is that the phrase is very vague. Let’s explain its meaning and usage.
Struggling to understand and communicate with native English speakers? Innovative Language provides short lessons for fast and effective learning. Get personalized guidance from a teacher and complete it at your own pace.
Tens of Thousands Meaning
The phrase “tens of thousands” is often used to describe a very large number. In most cases, it is used to describe a number that is too large to count.
For example, if you were talking about the number of people in a city, you might say that tens of thousands of people live there.
This phrase is often used when the exact number is not known or when the number is so large that it is not worth trying to count it. It is usually between the range of 20,000-100,000.
When to Use Tens of Thousands
The phrase “tens of thousands” is often used in casual conversation and in informal writing when we don’t know the precise number of something.
You will not usually find this phrase in academic or journalistic writing as it is too vague. If you need to write formally in instances like these, you should use an exact number. For example, “The company employs 97,000 people in the United States.”
Sometimes, the phrase is said for the purpose of exaggeration. For example, “I’ve read tens of thousands of books in my lifetime.” Of course, they probably haven’t, but they want to emphasize that they have read many books. We call these exaggerations hyperbole sentences.
Examples of Sentences with Tens of Thousands
Here are a few more examples:
- There are tens of thousands of stars in the night sky.
- The company employs tens of thousands of people around the world.
- The electricity bill will cost tens of thousands of euros this year!
- Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes during the hurricane.
- Tens of thousands of people gathered at the town hall in protest.
- That mistake cost the company tens of thousands of dollars.
- Tens of thousands of people from all over the world saw the Eclipse.
- Tens of thousands of happy students arrived this morning to receive their exam results.
- There must be tens of thousands of rocks in this field.
- He’s made tens of thousands of mistakes.
- I saved tens of thousands of dollars before my retirement.
- We’ve seen tens of thousands of patients over the years.
In each of these examples, the phrase “tens of thousands” describes a very large number.
How to Read Numbers in Tens of Thousands (in English)
- 252,000: two hundred fifty-two thousand
- 368,800: three hundred sixty-eight thousand eight hundred
- 442,290: four hundred forty-two thousand two hundred ninety
- 570,102: five hundred seventy thousand one hundred and two
- 689,999: six hundred eighty-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine
- 729,437: seven hundred twenty-nine thousand four hundred thirty-seven
- 846,025: eight hundred forty-six thousand twenty-five
- 964,678: nine hundred sixty-four thousand six hundred seventy-eight
You may also be interested in: How to Write Dates Correctly in English
Other Phrases You May Be Interested in Knowing
This is what each phrase roughly means:
- Between 20-100: dozens (a ‘dozen’ means 12)
- Between 200-1000: hundreds
- Between 1000-19,000: thousands
- Between 20,000-100,000: tens of thousands
- Between 200,000-1,000,000: hundreds of thousands
- Between 20,000,000-100,000,000 (million): tens of millions
- Between 200,000,000-1,000,000,000: hundreds of millions
- More than 1,000,000,000: billions
You may also be interested in: Play Stupid Games Win Stupid Prizes: Phrase Meaning
As you can see from these examples, the phrase “tens of thousands” is very vague. It can be used when the total number is not known or when you want to emphasize your point.
If you need to be precise, for example, when writing formally, you should use an exact number. Otherwise, this phrase is fine in casual conversation and informal writing.
I hope you found this post helpful! If you did be sure to let me know in the comments, and drop a sentence with the phrase “tens of thousands of (something)” to practice what you have learned!
I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.
I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!
I enjoy traveling, nature walks, and soaking up a new culture. Please share the posts if you find them helpful!