Ordinal Numbers

Introduction

We use ordinal numbers to say the date or to put things into order.

The Ordinal Numbers

1st first 11th eleventh 21st twenty-first 31st thirty-first
2nd second 12th twelfth 22nd twenty-second 40th fortieth
3rd third 13th thirteenth 23rd twenty-third 50th fiftieth
4th fourth 14th fourteenth 24th twenty-fourth 60th sixtieth
5th fifth 15th fifteenth 25th twenty-fifth 70th seventieth
6th sixth 16th sixteenth 26th twenty-sixth 80th eightieth
7th seventh 17th seventeenth 27th twenty-seventh 90th ninetieth
8th eighth 18th eighteenth 28th twenty-eighth 100th one hundredth
9th ninth 19th nineteenth 29th twenty-ninth 1000th one thousandth
10th tenth 20th twentieth 30th thirtieth 1,000,000th one millionth

Writing the Ordinal Numbers

To write ordinal numbers we just add th to the number:

Example:
four – fourth
eleven – eleventh

Exceptions

  • one – first
  • two – second
  • three – third
  • five – fifth
  • eight – eighth
  • nine – ninth
  • twelve – twelfth

In larger numbers, we only change the last numeral to an ordinal number:

Example:
421st = four hundred and twenty-first
5,011th = five thousand and eleventh

Numerals

To turn numerals into ordinal numbers we add the last two letters of the written number to the numeral.

  • first = 1st
  • second = 2nd
  • third = 3rd
  • fourth = 4th
  • twenty-sixth = 26th
  • a/one hundred and first = 101st

Usage

Date: We use ordinal numbers to say the date.

Example:
Today is the eleventh of June.
The concert is on the the seventeenth of January.

Order and lists: We use ordinal numbers to put things in an order or when making lists/enumerations.

Example:
We live on the fifteenth floor.
First, wash the rice. Second, put it in a saucepan. Third, add water. Fourth, cook for 10 minutes.

Titles: In titles (e.g. kings and queens), ordinal numbers are written as Roman numerals. In Spoken English, we add the definite article before the ordinal number:

Example:
Charles II – Charles the Second
Edward VI – Edward the Sixth
Henry VIII – Henry the Eighth

Roman Numerals

Symbol I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X
Value 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10