Vocabulary of Ordinal Numbers in English

Revisado porKateryna Protsenko / más sobre Proceso editorial
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If you're learning English and want to master counting or arranging items in a sequence, understanding ordinal numbers is key. This guide aims to demystify the concept, equipping you with the right vocabulary and increasing your confidence in using these numbers in daily communication. 
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What is an Ordinal Number?

An ordinal number denotes the position or order of an item in a list or series, indicating its rank in a sequence rather than the quantity, which is the role of a cardinal number. For instance, if you're looking at a line of people and asked to identify the "5th in words," you would say "fifth." This concept is a cornerstone of numerical vocabulary in English and many other languages.

Ordinal Numbers From 1 to 20

Before we delve into larger numbers, let's start with the basics: ordinal numbers from 1 to 20. It's where we encounter some irregularities, including the "first number," or "first," and the sequence "first, second, third, fourth," and so on.


Having a grasp on the ordinal numbers from 1 to 20 is pivotal in understanding the foundation of English numerical vocabulary. These numbers come up frequently in everyday speech and writing, such as describing order in a queue or ranking in a competition. By mastering these, you've successfully taken the first big step in understanding English ordinal numbers.


Ordinal Numbers in Multiples of 10

After mastering the first 20 ordinal numbers, it's time to consider larger numbers, specifically multiples of 10. These are slightly more straightforward, following a regular pattern.


Getting comfortable with the ordinal numbers in multiples of 10 is a crucial milestone. These numbers regularly appear in various contexts, such as anniversaries or important milestones. Being able to identify and use these terms with confidence will undoubtedly enhance your English communication skills, allowing you to converse more fluently and naturally.

Hundreds of Ordinal Numbers 100 to 1000

Now, let's move on to the hundreds in our journey through "numbers 1 to 100" and beyond, to 1000. These also follow a pattern, using the cardinal number and adding "-th" at the end.

100thOne hundredth
101stOne hundred and first
200thTwo hundredth
254thTwo hundred and fifty-fourth
300thThree hundredth
400thFour hundredth
500thFive hundredth
600thSix hundredth
700thSeven hundredth
800thEight hundredth
900thNine hundredth
1000thOne thousandth

Mastering hundreds in ordinal numbers, all the way up to 1000, shows significant progress in your English numerical vocabulary. In the context of historical years, significant milestones, or large datasets, these numbers become quite important. With the ability to recognize and use these, you'll be well-equipped to tackle most numerical sequences you'll encounter in English texts or conversations.

Larger Ordinal Numbers

When you get to larger ordinal numbers, they're usually a combination of smaller ones you've already learned. They often follow patterns based on the last two digits.

1001stOne thousand and first
1022ndOne thousand and twenty-second
1155thOne thousand one hundred fifty-fifth
2123rdTwo thousand one hundred twenty-third
3004thThree thousand and fourth

When you understand larger ordinal numbers, it's a clear sign you've gone beyond the basics. These numbers may seem intimidating initially, but they're mostly combinations of smaller ordinal numbers you've already learned. Navigating these complex figures with ease is a testament to your command over the language, enabling you to communicate complex numerical concepts or sequences in English effectively.


Ordinal numbers may initially seem challenging, but they're largely about recognizing patterns and applying the rules consistently. From the first ordinal number to the larger ones, like numbers 1-100 and beyond, mastering these can significantly improve your English proficiency. Just remember, practice makes perfect, and before long, you'll find yourself effortlessly using ordinal numbers in your everyday English conversations.

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PromovaMar 21st, 2024
While cardinal numbers represent quantity or how many of something there are, ordinal numbers indicate the order or position of something in a sequence.
Adelaide SuttonMar 21st, 2024
i don’t understand, how do ordinal numbers differ from cardinal numbers?
PromovaNov 14th, 2023
In English, most ordinal numbers beyond the "tenth" end in "th." However, with numbers 11 to 19, the standard ordinal forms are not used, and they are formed with the cardinal number plus "th."
Azaria DennisNov 14th, 2023
Wow! How are ordinal numbers formed in English beyond the "th" ending?