Numbers: Ordinal Numbers

Imagine that you are on a list and you want to know where you are standing. To refer to that number, we use 'ordinal numbers.'

Ordinal Numbers in English Language

What Are Ordinal Numbers?

Ordinal numbers are used to show the position of something in a list or in a row, that's why we call them ordinal.

How to Write Ordinal Numbers: 1-10

Except for the first three numbers, most of the numbers get 'th' at the end to change to an ordinal number:

Written Numeral
first 1st
second 2nd
third 3rd
fourth 4th
fifth 5th
sixth 6th
seventh 7th
eighth 8th
ninth 9th
tenth 10th

Exceptions in Spelling

Please note that apart from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, some of the numbers change form when adding 'th' to them.

  • five + th → fifth
  • eight + th → eighth
  • nine + th → ninth

How to Write Ordinal Numbers: 11-20

Written Numeral
eleventh 11th
twelfth 12th
thirteenth 13th
fourteenth 14th
fifteenth 15th
sixteenth 16th
seventeenth 17th
eighteenth 18th
nineteenth 19th
twentieth 20th

Exceptions in Spelling

As you can see in the table above, some of the numbers change form when adding 'th' to them.

  • twelve + th → twelfth
  • twenty + th → twentieth

How to Write Ordinal Numbers: Compound

For compound ordinal numbers, use this structure:
first part (in cardinal form) + hyphen + second part (ordinal form)

Written Numeral
twenty-first 21st
twenty-second 22nd
twenty-third 23rd
twenty-fourth 24th
twenty-fifth 25th
twenty-sixth 26th
twenty-seventh 27th
twenty-eighth 28th
twenty-ninth 29th

How to Write Ordinal Numbers: The Tens

For the tens, note that the letter 'y' at the end of the cardinal number, turns into 'ie' in ordinal numbers.

Written Numeral
tenth 10th
twentieth 20th
thirtieth 30th
fortieth 40th
fiftieth 50th
sixtieth 60th
seventieth 70th
eightieth 80th
ninetieth 90th

How to Write Ordinal Numbers: The Hundreds

To write a number from 100 to 999 in ordinal form, first, write the number of hundreds.
If nothing is left over, write the word 'hundredth.'
If there is more number, write the word 'hundred,' then write the rest of the numbers.

Written Numeral
one hundred first 101st
one hundred second 102nd
one hundred third 103rd
two hundred seventy-fifth 275th
three hundredth 300
five hundred eighty-ninth 589th
nine hundred ninety-eighth 998


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