41 Ordinal Numbers


Ordinal numbers express numerical sequences, positioning elements in a list.


Ordinal numbers are usually preceded by the definite article the and they are usually placed after the verb. Ordinal numbers are made by adding -th* to the cardinal numbers (1 – 10):

  • 1st* – First
  • 2nd* – Second
  • 3rd* – Third
  • 4th – Fourth
  • 5th* – Fifth
  • 6th – Sixth
  • 7th – Seventh
  • 8th* – Eighth
  • 9th* – Ninth
  • 10th – Tenth

*The exceptions (also twelve = twelfth).


  • It’s my second time in Sweden.
  • He was the first on the list.
  • Our house is the fourth on the left.


We use ordinal numbers to show the position of something.

Unlike cardinal numbers, which are used to express the quantity of something, they express numerical sequences.


Ordinal numbers differ from cardinal numbers as they are used to position elements on a list.

Ordinal numbers are made by adding -th to the cardinal numbers: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth.

For example:
— “It’s my fifth time in Spain.” = This is the current number of times I have visited Spain and I am there now (fifth = ordinal number).
♦ “I’ve been to Spain five times.” = The total number of times I visited Spain and I am not there anymore. (five = cardinal number).

NOTE: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9 and 12 are exceptions (as their ordinal numbers don’t follow the general formation rule: first, second, third, fifth, eighth, ninth and twelfth).

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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