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Linguapress English Grammar

Numbers 2 : Ordinals

Numerical adjectives of order

Index : Numbers - cardinals Numbers - ordinals Fractions and decimals

1. Ordinals in English

Ordinals are words like first, second, third.....
They are adjectives formed from cardinal numbers.
They are used to indicate the position of an entity in a stated or implied series.

In common usage, written as figures, they are formed by a number followed by an abbreviated ending corresponding to the ending of the written word.

In most cases the ending is th; but take care. this is not always the case !  

Note also that a final y becomes i in front of th

Ordinals are also used to express fractions and dates.  In the case of fractions, the endings are not written when the fractions are expressed in figures.  See fractions and dates

From 1st to 100th

Here are the main ordinals in English, up to hundredth; from these examples all others can be formed

1st first 11th eleventh 21st twenty-first
2nd second 12th twelve 22nd twenty-second
3rd third 13th thirteen 33rd thirty-third
4th fourth 14th fourteen 44th forty-fourth
5th fifth 15th fifteenth 50th fiftieth
6th sixth 16th sixteenth 60th sixtieth
7th seventh 17th seventeenth 71st seventy-first
8th eighth 18th eighteenth 82nd eighty-second
9th ninth 19th nineteenth 99th ninety-ninth
10th tenth 20th twentieth 100th a hundredth

Ordinals after 100th

From these examples you can see how all ordinals are formed
101st  hundred and first 365th three hundred and sixty-fifth
111th  hundred and eleventh 500th five hundredth
121st hundred and twenty first 545th five hundred and forty-fifth
133rd hundred and thirty-third 644th six hundred and forty-fourth
257th two hundred and fifty-seventh 999th nine hundred and ninety nive
302nd three hundred and second 1250th one thousand two hundred and fiftieth


Ordinals can be preceded by a range of different articles or determiners.
The first anniversary - the 1st anniversary
My twenty-first birthday  - My 21st birthday
Three hundredths of a second - 3/100 of a second.
My  hundred and second attempt - My 102nd attempt.
The US Hundred and first Airborne division - The US 101st Airborne division
You are our millionth visitor.  You are our 1,000,000th visitor

Other points to note :

Translating ordinals.

The basic rule is simple : translate using words when the original ordinal is written in words, translate using figures when the original uses figures.
The first anniversary  = Le premier anniversaire
My 21st birthday  - Mein 21e Geburtstag
Three hundredths of a second - Tres centésimas de segundo
His 203rd attempt - Zijn 203 poging.
The US Hundred and first Airborne division - La cent-unième division US aeroportée.
Index : Numbers - cardinals Numbers - ordinals Fractions and decimals
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Les ordinaux en anglais

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Verbs: the present tense
Verbs : the future
Past tenses
Phrasal & prepositional verbs
Gerunds, participles and -ing forms
The infinitive
Irregular verb tables
Nouns, pronouns, adjectives
Noun phrases
Adjective order in English
The possessive
Sentences & clauses
Relative clauses in English
Conditional clauses in English
Word order in English
Reported questions in English
Language and style 
Word stress in English
The short story of English
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