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Ninty or Ninety? How to Correctly Spell 90…

Our next entry into the list of hard words to spell in English connects the disciplines of ELA and Math… because it’s about writing a number as a word! Today, we will learn whether to spell 90 as “ninty” or “ninety.”

As background, my name is Lillie, and I’ve been an English teacher for almost two decades. I’m also an artist, so all the educational illustrations here — such as our lesson on the Pi symbol — are hand-drawn by my fingers. Let’s dive right into it!

Ninty or ninety?
Ninty or ninety?

Spell 90 as a Word

How do you write out 90 (the number between 89 and 91, also known as the number that’s 9 times 10) using letters? The dilemma usually comes down to two possibilities: “ninty” or “ninety” — one option with no “E” in the middle, and with an “E” in the middle. Luckily, the correct answer is straightforward and relatively logical.

Ninty or Ninety?

In the ninty vs. ninety battle, the good news is that one of those two options is just plain wrong. The spelling “ninty” is INCORRECT. The “word” isn’t a word at all, and — like other commonly misspelled words like “greatful” — it should be tossed in the dumpster, never to be seen again.

One way to remember the erroneousness of “ninty” is this: That spelling is clearly wrong because, following the conventions of English, it would be pronounced “nihn-tee” — rhyming with “minty.” Miss Mint Green Color would like to remind you that there needs to be an “E” in the middle of “ninty” so you don’t compete with her name.

How to spell 90...
Remember how to spell 90 correctly…

How to Spell Ninety

There are two easy ways to remember the “E” in the middle of “ninety” in order to spell 90 correctly (unlike the misspelling, “truley” which should NOT have an “E”). First, adding the “E” in “ninety” makes the first part of the word “NINE,” just like the first digit of the number: 9. Logical!

Second, the number 90 is written “nine-ty” and pronounced “nine-tee.” See those “Es” at the end of the phonetic spelling? Let them guide your hand at writing “n-i-n-E-t-y.” Just don’t mess up and think the actual spelling is “ninetee” — it’s not. (Our “fiery or firey” lesson had a similar audio cue.)

Examples of Ninty vs. Ninety (not Ninetee)

  • “I’ve got ninety-nine problems…” (not “ninty-nine problems”)
  • “Ninety-nine bottles of __ on the wall…” (not “ninty-nine bottles”)
  • “She gave me ninety dollars…” (not “ninty dollars”)
  • “We ate at the Ninety-Nine Restaurant (not the “Ninty-Nine Restaurant”)
  • “I’m ninety percent sure that…” (not “ninty percent sure”)
  • “He’s in the ninetieth percentile…” (not “nintieth percentile”)
  • “During the nineties we wore clothes that…” (not “during the ninties”)

Ninty or Ninety? Spell 90 Correctly!

After this tutorial, the ninty or ninety question becomes clear: The way to spell 90 as a word is “ninety” — never “ninty!” What other commonly confused words would you like me to illustrate and explain? Do share…

Want more? Check out “Is the Spelling Flies or Flys?”