Unit 7.2

Ordinal Numbers

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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
  • 4thFourth
  • 5th* – Fifth
  • 6thSixth
  • 7thSeventh
  • 8th* – Eighth
  • 9th* – Ninth
  • 10thTenth

*The exceptions (also twelve = twelfth).


  • He was the first on the list. / He was the 1st on the list.
  • It’s my second time in Sweden. / It’s my 2nd time in Sweden.
  • I want the third cake. / I want the 3rd cake.
  • She is the fifth child in a family of eleven. / She is the 5th child in a family of eleven. 
  • Today is my child’s eighth birthday. / Today is my child’s 8th birthday
  • This is the ninth book I’ve read. / This is the 9th book I’ve read
  • My office is on the tenth floor. / My office is on the 10th floor


We use ordinal numbers to express the position of something in a sequence. Unlike cardinal numbers, which are used to express the quantity of something.


Ordinal numbers are used to position elements in a sequential order.

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, fiftheighth, 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.

More exercises


External link to Ordinal Numbers exercises (42).

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