Forty or Fourty: What’s the Difference?

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A lot of people are not sure whether to spell the number 40 as forty or fourty. There is a misconception that fourty is British spelling while forty is the American version. However, the reality is different from this fallacy. There is only one spelling correct, regardless of region. Let’s learn the difference between forty vs. forty and find out which version is correct.

When to Use Forty

Forty (40) is a numerical digit or number that follows 39 and precedes 41. Forty is the only correct spelling for the number 40 in the current times. While it is linked to the number four (4), the letter “U” is missing in this spelling. Let’s find out how forty lost its “U.”

How Forty Lost the “U”

Forty is an old English word, which became fourty in its early history. At the beginning of the 15th century, numerous vowel shifts happened, which reflected dialects and admitted ways of speaking and writing. During this time, both spellings and pronunciation of countless English words changed, and fourty was one of them. Thus fourty became forty as we know today.

So the word forty is the accurate way to spell the number 40 now.

 Examples of Forty in Sentences

  • I am so hungry that I can eat forty hot dogs.
  • My mother is forty-eight years old.
  • They have a staff of about forty people.
  • He was one of the forty martyrs of England.
  • A fool at forty is a fool indeed.
  • I have to drive forty miles in a day.
  • There are forty students in the classroom.
  • We invited forty people, but only twenty came.
  • My company is listed in the top forty companies in Australia.
  • In India, the temperature sometimes reaches up to forty degrees celsius.
  • They are both now forty years old.
  • I can record forty songs in a day.
  • It is said that she could write and speak forty languages.
  • At the age of forty, she is having a baby.
  • This skeleton is around forty years old.
  • I took your name about forty times.

When to Use Fourty

As mentioned above, fourty is an old English spelling, which is not in use since the beginning of the 19th century. It’s an incorrect spelling of forty, and you should never use it. It is also not an accurate spelling in British English. 

As no dictionary today accepts this spelling version, using it will be considered a mistake in any context. 

How to Remember the Right Spelling

The spelling of forty (40) today is only one example of numerous twists and turns in the English language during the 15th century. Forty is an important word that is used in several areas, such as entertainment, sports, religions, etc. If you often forget its spelling, you can remember that forty contains the word for, and forty is accurate for everyone.


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