Forty or Fourty: What Is the Difference and How To Spell Correctly

Are you struggling to decide whether it’s “forty” or “forty”? Are you unsure which 40 spelling is correct? Don’t worry; this article will help clear up any confusion. It will explain the difference between these two words and provide tips on how to spell them correctly. Knowing when to use each word can help ensure your writing looks professional and polished. Read on to learn more about “forty” and “forty.”

Forty or Fourty: How do you spell 40?


The short answer: “forty” is the correct spelling. This word has been used when referring to the number 40 in American and British English since 1821, with the introduction of the words “forty-niners” and “forty winks.” It is also the most common 40 spelling used in formal writing. Used in other contexts, however, “forty” may be spelled differently depending on the style guide you’re following.

So what about “fourty”? This spelling is incorrect, and you should avoid using it in your writing. It’s an alternate spelling of “forty” that some people use. Since the root of the word is “four,” some people mistakenly think that “fourty” should be used instead of “forty.” But this spelling never caught on and is not accepted in formal writing.

Remember that “forty” and “fourty” are pronounced the same. The only difference is the spelling. Knowing how to spell them correctly can help ensure your writing looks professional and polished.

The Origins of “Forty”

The word “forty” is derived from the Old English word “feowertig,” combining “feower” (four) and “tig” (groups of ten), which mean “four times ten.” This word eventually evolved into “forty” before being adopted into American and British English. So how do you spell 40 correctly in modern times? The answer is “forty.”

Usage Examples of “Forty”

It helps to see how “forty” is used in real-world examples. Here are some common phrases and sentences illustrating the proper spelling of forty:

  1. He celebrated his forty-first with a big party.
  2. I need forty dollars to buy groceries this week.
  3. Forty winks need to stay productive at work.
  4. The search for gold made the forty-niners part of history.
  5. Anyone over forty can join the oldies book’ club.
  6. It takes forty-five minutes to travel from here to there.

Using “forty” in these sentences ensures that your writing looks professional and accurate.

Common Mistakes and Tips

Although the correct spelling is “forty,” it’s easy to make a mistake when writing quickly. With 4 spelled as “four,” someone might mistakenly spell 40 as “fourty.” This spelling is not accepted in formal writing and should be avoided.

To ensure you don’t make this mistake, take your time when writing and double-check your work. Remember that even though the root of the word is “four,” its Old English derivation is “feowertig,” which evolved into the modern form of “forty.” With this knowledge in mind, it should be easier to remember the correct spelling of 40.

If you’re using a style guide, follow its rules for spelling 40 correctly. Dictionaries and spelling guides are great resources for spelling any word correctly. Even grammar AIs can help with spelling and grammar errors. Use these tools whenever possible to ensure your writing looks professional and accurate.

Differences in Spelling Across English Variants

girl reading a dictionary

The spelling of 40 follows the same rules in American and British English. Both variants use “forty” to represent the number 40 in writing. Even Canadian English, which follows British English rules, uses “forty” to spell 40.

But there are still some instances where “fourty” is used. For one, in Staten Island Advanced, a newspaper in the New York City borough, they used “Fourty-four states” in a report. This spelling is more common in informal writing, so avoiding using it in formal contexts is best.

Forteen or Fourteen: How About 14?

The spelling of the number 14 follows the same spelling rule as 40. The word is “fourteen” in American and British English, with the root of the word being “four.” Unlike 40, there is no alternate spelling of this number, so there is never any confusion about how to spell it. Many other numbers like this follow the same rules, so if you ever struggle to spell a number, follow the same pattern.

Number 40 Spelling FAQs

frequently asked questions

How to properly pronounce forty?

Forty is pronounced, “for-tee.” This is the same pronunciation as “fourty,” which is an incorrect spelling of the word.

Why is 40 spelled forty and not forty?

The word “forty” is derived from the Old English word “feowertig,” not from the word “four.” This is why 40 is spelled as forty and not fourty.

Is it forty-nine or fourty-nine?

The correct spelling of 49 is forty-nine. This follows the same pattern as 40,  where the number is spelled with “forty” rather than “fourty.”

When did fourty change to forty?

The spelling of 40 changed from “fourty” to “forty” when it was adopted into American and British English in 1821. This was at the same time when “forty-niners” and “forty winks” were popularized.

Is it okay to write fourty?

No, fourty is an incorrect spelling of the word forty and should be avoided in formal writing. Dictionaries and style guides state that forty is the only accepted spelling of 40.

What is the spelling of 40 and 42?

The correct spelling of 40 and 42 are “forty” and “forty-two,” respectively. The exact spelling rules apply to all numbers between 40 and 49.

Is it fourty or forty thousand in Cheque?

In a cheque, the correct spelling of 40 is forty. While some may use fourty, it is incorrect and should be avoided.

Knowing the difference between “forty” and “fourty” is important for accurate writing. The correct spelling of 40 is “forty,” so use it in all contexts when referring to the number 40. While the latter is an alternate spelling, dictionaries and style guides agree that “forty” is the only correct way to spell 40. Knowing when and how to use these words can help ensure your writing looks polished and grammatically correct.

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