What is a decimal point - definition and examples

A decimal point is a small dot used in writing a decimal fraction or a mixed number.

Decimal point
Decimal point

Notice that in a decimal fraction, 0 is usually placed before the decimal point.

In a mixed number, the decimal point separates the whole number part from the fractional part.

How to read the decimal point

In a decimal fraction, we don't read the zero on the left of the decimal point.


We read 0.6 as six tenths

We read 0.007 as seven thousandths

We read 0.17 as seventeen hundredths

In a mixed number, the decimal point is read as "and" and we do read the number on the left of the decimal point.


We read 4.6 as four and six tenths

We read 9.007 as nine and seven thousandths

We read 20.17 as twenty and seventeen hundredths

In money, the decimal point is used to separate dollars and cents.

$0.48 is read as forty-eight cents

$5.64 is read as five dollars and sixty-four cents.

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