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        How Do You Spell 40: Is It Forty or Fourty?

        • calenderAug 08, 2023
        • calender 3 min read

        How do you spell 40? This can be a tricky and frustrating question. If you have ever been unsure about whether to use forty or fourty, your search ends here! We’ll tell you the difference between forty and fourty and explain how this spelling became common.

        We’ll also provide you with some useful tips to help you remember the correct spelling of 40. So without wasting any time, let’s get started!

        Forty or fourty: Which is correct?

        The correct spelling of 40 is forty. In British as well as American English, forty is considered the only appropriate word form. Even when it is part of a bigger number, 40 is still spelled as forty

        For example: Forty-four, forty thousand, forty million

        What’s a word form?

        Word forms are different forms of a word created by altering their spellings, which leads to newer (but related) meanings. There are many ways to do this such as adding a prefix or a suffix to words. 

        For example: un + happy = unhappy, happy + ness = happiness

        Forty (40) is a whole number which refers to two times twenty. Though forty is derived from the word four, it is still considered worldwide as the correct spelling. All dictionaries consider the spelling of 40 as forty and provide no alternatives. Let’s see some examples for more clarity. 

        “Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.” — Carl Jung 

        Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.” — Victor Hugo. 

        Forty is a most beautiful age for men and women…” — Elif Shafak

        Want to know where all the fourty or forty confusion began? Let’s take a look. 

        So how do you spell 40? 

        The only accurate spelling of 40 is forty. The root of all the confusion is in the history of the word. Fourty was considered the appropriate spelling for 40 before the 15th century. However, many variants of forty emerged in Modern English such as fourtie, fourtye, and vorty, which were gradually replaced by forty.

        What do we mean by Modern English?

        English as it has been used since the 1500s is called Modern English.

        Why did forty replace fourty?  

        The word fourty was commonly used from the 12th to the 15th century. However, the use of the word fourty reduced in the initial decades of the 15th century. The reason for this was various shifts in the usage of vowels during this time. This led to the emergence of several variants of 40 in Middle English such as feortig, fuerti, feowerti, and feouwerti. 

        In the 1800s, the word forty first appeared as part of the expression forty winks. The Online Etymology dictionary credits William Kitchiner for coining this term. 

        “‘A Forty Winks Nap,’ in an horizontal posture, is the best preparative of any extraordinary exertion of either.” — William Kitchiner, The Art of Invigorating and Prolonging Life

        Later, the word forty-niners appeared in 1849 in the US. The phrase Forty-niners referred to individuals who migrated to California to look for gold.

        How to remember fourty vs. forty

        Here are three tips to remember the correct spelling of 40 as forty.

        1. Fortune comes at forty

        An easy strategy would be to remember that the first four letters of fortune and forty are the same. Using these two words in the same sentence will help to keep in mind the correct spelling of 40. 

        2. For for forty 

        A good strategy is to associate the word for with forty and make your sentence using both words. Remembering this sentence and the fact that both for and forty do not contain the letter U will help you remember the correct spelling of forty

        There were forty gifts for him.

        He withdrew forty dollars for a payment. 

        She purchased forty beads for making bracelets.

        3. Fortieth, the ordinal number 

        The word fortieth is the ordinal form of the number 40. This word indicates the 40th position of any person or object.  Remembering the fact that fortieth also doesn’t contain the letter U will help you memorize the spelling of 40.

        Also read: To vs. Too vs. Two | Difference, Examples, When to Use

        We hope this article provides you with clarity on the question, Is it forty or fourty? As experts who provide professional proofreading services, it’s our job to help you out with such difficulties! 

        You can bookmark this article and take a look whenever you’re unsure about using forty or fourty. In case you have more doubts about word choice or grammar, here are some articles that can help:

        Frequently Asked Questions

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        Priya Linkedin

        Priya has a talent for academic research and enjoys simplifying complex topics. When she's not helping students improve their writing, she can be seen reading poetry, playing the harmonium, or learning classical dance.

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