Questions?

Check our FAQs for the quickest support.

FAQ

Did not find your answer?
Contact us

Forming and declension of ordinal numbers in German

Our teachers

Looking for a language tutor? Contact one of our teachers!

Find a teacher

In German, it's possible to use numbers as adjectives. To do so, it's important to know the difference of ordinal and cardinal numbers and their usage. This chapter will deal with it.

Ordinal numbers in German

Ordinal numbers are not the numerals to count (eins, zwei drei). In most cases they are written (erste, zweite, dritte/first, second, third) and used:

  1. to express the relative position of a person, thing etc. compared to others or 
  2. to express a certain order.

Have a question?

Take online language lessons with a professional teacher

  1. Native & verified teachers
  2. Free trial lesson
  3. Learning materials included

How to form the ordinal numbers

The ordinal numbers are created in most cases by adding a suffix to a cardinal number. To use a cardinal number, you have to add

  • a -te to numbers from 1 to 19
  • and -ste to numbers above 19.
Cardinal numberPronouncingOrdinal number with -te
1einserste
2zweizweite
3dreidritte
4viervierte
5fünffünfte
6sechssechste
7siebensiebte
8achtachte
9neunneunte
10zehnzehnte
19neunzehnneunzehnte

 

enlightenedWatch out for some exception of this rule! At erste and dritte there is a changed root, at siebte the- en is dropped, and at achte which only adds an -e.

Cardinal numberPronouncingOrdinal number with -ste
20zwanzigzwanzigste
21einundzwanzigeinundzwanzigste
22zweiundzwanzigzweiundzwanzigste
30dreißigdreißigste
31einunddreißigeinunddreißigste
40vierzigvierzigste
100hunderthundertste

 

enlightenedBy writing a text, the ordinal numbers are usually written out until 12. By using numbers from 13 on, just use the cardinal form and add a point (13., 14.).

Declension of ordinal numbers and their use as adjectives

In most cases, ordinal numbers are considered as adjectives. Therefore the numbers need to be declined in the same way as adjectives. Depending on the type of article, there are different types of declension:

  1. Declension for ordinal numbers with definite article
  2. with indefinite article
  3. without preceding article
With definite articleMasculineFeminineNeuter
Nominativeder zweite Hunddie zweite Puppedas zweite Kind
Accusativeden zweiten Hunddie zweite Puppedas zweite Kind
Dativedem zweiten Hundder zweiten Puppedem zweiten Kind
Genitivedes zweiten Hundesder zweiten Puppedes zweiten Kindes

 

With indefinite articleMasculineFeminineNeuter
Nominativeein zweiter Hundeine zweite Puppeein zweites Kind
Accusativeeinen zweiten Hundeine zweite Puppeein zweites Kind
Dativeeinem zweiten Hundeiner zweiten Puppeeinem zweiten Kind
Genitiveeines zweiten Hundeseiner zweiten Puppeeines zweiten Kindes

 

Without articleMasculineFeminineNeuter
Nominativezweiter Hundzweite Puppezweites Kind
Accusativezweiten Hundzweite Puppezweites Kind
Dativezweitem Hundzweiter Puppezweitem Kind
Genitivezweiten Hundeszweiter Puppezweiten Kindes

Usage of ordinal numbers as adjectives

As ordinal numbers as adjectives usually refer to a noun, they need to be declined. They stand in front of the noun they refer to.

  • Wir wohnen im fünfzehnten Stock. (We live on the 15th floor.)
  • Englisch ist seine zweite Fremdsprache. (English is his 2nd foreign language.)
  • Das ist mein erster Besuch in Berlin. (This is my first visit in Berlin.)
  • Der Vater war bei der Geburt seines ersten Kindes dabei. (The father was present at the birth of his first child.)

enlightenedKeep in mind, that the numbers are used as adjectives and therefore always need to take adjective endings!

Special cases to use ordinal numbers

There are some forms of expressions, where it is necessary to know how to use ordinals in German. For instance:

  1. Using dates
  2. Ordinal numbers without article
  3. Nominal numbers

1) By using ordinal numbers to talk about the dates in German the ordinal number stands before the month or the year.

  • Heute ist der elfte September. (Today it's the 11th of September.)
  • Mein Bruder hat am dreizehnten Mai Geburtstag. (My brother has its birthday on the 13th of May.)
  • Das Konzert findet am siebzehnten Februar statt. (The concert will take place on the 17th of February.)

2) Ordinal numbers without article are not just used as the ordinal numbers, but with synonyms.

  • Das ist Deutschlands größtes Autobahnkreuz. (This is Germanys biggest motorway interchange.)
  • China ist unser wichtigster Handelspartner. (China is our most important trading partner.)
  • Bester Film aller Zeiten. (Best movie of all ages.)

enlightenedIn all examples the bold type words mean that the noun is ranked number one in any ranking. So the ordinal number is used in a different style.

3) Ordinal numbers can also be used as nouns.

  • Er möchte immer Erster sein. (He always wants to be the first one.)
  • Kroatien ist bei der Fußballweltmeisterschaft Zweiter geworden. (Croatia finished second at the soccer world cup.)
  • Er traf als Dritter ins Ziel. (He hit the bull's eye third.)

Cardinal numbers in German

In German, as well as in English, there are both cardinal and ordinal numbers. The cardinal numbers are the numerals used to count.

Cardinal numbers from 1 to 100

Cardinal numbers in GermanSpelling and pronouncing
1eins
2zwei
3drei
4vier
5fünf
6sechs
7sieben
8acht
9neun
10zehn
11elf
12zwölf
13dreizehn
14vierzehn
15fünfzehn
16sechszehn
17siebzehn
18achtzehn
19neunzehn
20zwanzig
21einundzwanzig
22zweiundzwanzig
23dreiundzwanzig
30dreißig
31einunddreißig
40vierzig
50fünfzig
60sechzig
70siebzig
80achzig
90neunzig
100(ein)hundert

enlightenedUsing numbers higher than 20, in German the numbers are expressed in reverse (e.g. 21 = einundzwanzig = one-and-twenty).

Cardinal numbers can also be used in combination with adjectives.

  • Zehn leckere Brötchen. (Ten tasty buns.)
  • Er hat zwei coole Autos und ein Motorrad. (He has two cool cars and one motorcycle.)

If you want to learn more about this, have a look at the chapter about counting in German.


Exercises

  1. Exercise on ordinal numbers as adjectives in German
  2. Exercise on the spelling of ordinal numbers in German

Exercise on ordinal numbers as adjectives in German


Exercise on the spelling of ordinal numbers in German


What our students say

Unlike in other platforms, all our teachers are manually verified by our professional team. Trust in the experiences of our students.
4.96/5

Hello everyone and a big warm welcome to all the fellow language learners,

My name is Katerina, I’m a native Russian speaker and a foreign language teacher from St Petersburg, Russia. I’ve always been addicted to learning foreign languages, be it English, German, Spanish, Turkish or Arabic, so turning my passion into my job was just a matter of time. I have a Master’s degree in linguistics which taught me to understand the way the mechanism of a language works and thus to help my students see the logics behind the grammar rules. Being a constant language learner enables me to see the process from both sides and to predict the difficulties my students might face. The fact that I’m not a native speaker of English or German means I’ve been through exactly the same language-learning journey you’re about to take, and thanks to my personal experience as a student, I can make this road smooth for you.

I've had students of all ages, from pre-school kids to senior generation, and I feel comfortable working with both beginners and those who are eager to take their learning process to a new level. In my classes I encourage you to talk in the language we’re studying as much as possible, putting every single bit of knowledge into practice right away. If you’re a Russian-learner, I’d be glad to prove it to you that you can absolutely nail my mother-tongue - and yes, you’ll be able to make a small talk in Russian by the end of the first class even if you’re an absolute beginner! We’ll be focusing on the topics that are most relevant to your goals, while discovering the language and getting to know more about the culture of people who speak it.

I offer a short free trial class, for us to give each other a smile and discuss our teaching pattern, in order to ajust it to your goals and make our lessons the bee's knees :) See you soon!

Reviews

Teaching methodology

4.8/5

Communication

4.89/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

4.92/5

Learning materials

4.74/5
4.87/5
Ekaterina writes new words and sentences learnt during the lesson. She has got a very nice attitude and great accent! A pleasure to work with... yes, even in German!!!!!
Ekaterina V. Ekaterina V. RU
Dear Silvia, thank you very much for your feedback! It's a real pleasure to have classes with you, and I hope you find them useful!

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

My name is Christina and I provide fun German and French language lesson for children and adult beginners or intermediate who want to strengthen their language skills, improve the grammar knowledge, enrich the vocabulary and get into the German culture! I can teach in English or French!

I had experince in teaching German, English and French to foreign people so I do have a lot of useful learning material I can provide you to make it easier!

Reviews

Teaching methodology

4.77/5

Communication

4.84/5

Punctuality

4.91/5

Internet connection

4.74/5

Learning materials

4.78/5
4.81/5
Fantastic opportunity to improve your German with a Native speaker. Christina is really helpful, very friendly and I would fully recommend to anyone!
Christina F. Christina F. DE
Thanks a lot Padraig ..... good luck Thank you very much Padraig and good luck
Translated by Google Translate

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
German lessons with a bilingual native speaker

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
Miriam is a prepared, available, punctual teacher, but in particular what struck me a lot is her working method, which I consider very engaging and which has made possible almost a year of lessons. Last but not least, Miriam is a nice and sociable person who makes you feel comfortable.
Translated by Google Translate
Miriam C. Miriam C. DE
Dear Daniele, thank you very much for the kind words. It is my pleasure to teach you. Your progress is very motivating. I look forward to our continued cooperation.
Translated by Google Translate

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

Hi!

I would be very glad if you let me be your guide through your language lessons. Spanish is my mother tongue and I really enjoy explaning things that might seem difficult to students. I like explaining grammar, pronounciation, vocabulary and useful idioms. I have been teaching foreign languages since 1994. I can also speak fluently English, Czech, Italian, French, and German. I can teach them too:) I have got a certification as a German Teacher from Goehte Institut Munich and many other certifications for the other languages (Italian PLIDA, French Diplome de Langue, French DELF and DALF, plenty of training courses for teaching Spanish, English TOEFL..) I also have a Ph.D. in Political Economy from the University of Economics in Prague. My favourite students are my three almost "four"lingual daughters:) with which I test  all the teaching methods I know...

I always try to adapt my methodology to each student´s needs and expectations, so feel free to contact me and we can start our lessons!

 

 

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
A prepared and kind teacher, ready to teach with patience and good humor. He provided me with very useful materials to study and review even after the lesson. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a language with a smile. Thanks Silvia :)
Translated by Google Translate
Silvia C. Silvia C. GT
Thank you so much for the Chiara review! It was a real pleasure to have this lesson with you. I wish you a nice trip with the German language!
Translated by Google Translate

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
INSEGNANTE DI TEDESCO

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

4.86/5

Learning materials

4.91/5
4.95/5
I am very satisfied with the teaching method. I highly recommend it if you want to learn the German language correctly. He has a lot of patience and can teach in a very relaxed way. Very very good
Translated by Google Translate
Fiorina D. Fiorina D. IT
Thanks so much. It is understood that for any difficulty and / or misunderstanding I am at your disposal.Rina
Translated by Google Translate

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

My interest in learning foreign languages has arisen since I was a young girl. At 13 I made up my mind to attend the foreign language high school where I graduaded with proficiency. After a few years I got my University degree.

I have been teaching for a few years privately via Skype Italian mainly to German adult students. My method is based to consolidate the grammar knowledge if previuosly done or to base it by catching their attention on interesting topics. I provide my students all material needed to plan a valuable lesson and for this reason I have gathered fulfilling reviews on other teaching platforms

About Italian students studying German with me, most of them are interested in deeping topics dealt at school or being prepared to get a certification.

I look forward to hearing from you

Maria Grazia

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

4.98/5
5/5
I did the first 4 lessons and I am fully satisfied. Precise teacher, very clear in the explanations, easy to follow, very helpful and patient even with those who start from scratch like me. Excellent pronunciation and very useful support with didactic material available. Result: perfect
Translated by Google Translate
Maria Grazia L. Maria Grazia L. IT
Thanks a lot for the nice review. It is a real pleasure to be able to help you with German.
Translated by Google Translate

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

Hi, my name is Mihaela and I´m a German language teacher with a Masters degree in German, who was born and lived in Switzerland.
I work since 2015 as German language teacher for various companies and since I love languages I became a certified German court interpreter in 2016 and work also as German translator. In 2018 I opened my own company for translation and language education.

I offer standard language courses for A1, A2, B1 and B2 level, they include grammar exercises, vocabulary building and speaking exercises / conversations on various topics. The topics and exercises are following the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and they will also prepare you for various language tests (Start Deutsch A1 + A 2, telc Deutsch Beruf, ...).

For C1 and C2 level I offer speaking exercises that will help you to improve your fluency. This is ideal for people who want to expand their vocabulary and improve their communication skills through conversations mixed up with some grammar exercises. Unfortunately I don't offer test preparations for level C1 and C2.

I also offer business German lessons - for people who live and work in German speaking countries and want to expand their business vocabulary (meetings, conversations for social situations, handling correspondence, phrases for professional phone calls and more).

My teaching methods vary according to the learner's language level and needs.

All learning materials and exercises will be provided before or during the lesson.

Lessons are offered for: 60 minutes or 45 minutes

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
As always, her lessons are great! She takes time to prepare in advance the lesson and pesonalised material for your needs.
Mihaela S. Mihaela S. CH

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

4/5

Learning materials

5/5
4.8/5

I'm a Italian/German bilingual teacher form Florence!

I offer lessons for beginners as well as for advanced speakers. I carry out different kinds of lessons: I could help you for example to prepare for a test, for your trip to Italy or for more advanced needs.​

The lessons are focused on improving listening/comprehension skills as well as reading, writing, speaking and grammar.

If you want to know more about my methods, just book a trial lesson! It's free! I hope to see you soon!

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

4.98/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

4.8/5

Learning materials

4.8/5
4.92/5
The lesson was perfectly geared to my needs. As my requirement for learning does not fit easily in any 'set course' or classroom situation, this individual approach, looking at what I need and then providing it, suits me very well indeed. I am very happy with the way in which the teaching / learning experience is going so far and would certainly recommend Niccoló.
Niccolò C. Niccolò C. IT

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

4/5

Learning materials

4/5
4.6/5
German individually for each level

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
I am thrilled by my teacher Dani. She is nice, positive and does a great job.
Translated by Google Translate
Dani K. Dani K. DE

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

Hello =)
My name is Karolin and I have been living in Chile for more than 2 years now. I've been teaching via Skype for quite some time and I've found that this kind of work is fun. That's why I would like to expand my circle of students.
Both in English and in German, I teach classes for beginners and advanced students. I speak Spanish fluently, but I do not want to cheat anyone, so I note here that I speak the spanish from Chile. I learned and teach the spanish from Spain and I can explain the differences if you're interested, but that is why I only teach spanish for beginners.
If you'd like to get to know me and my teaching methods, just contact me and we will do a free trial lesson.
See you soon!

Reviews

Teaching methodology

4.99/5

Communication

4.99/5

Punctuality

4.99/5

Internet connection

4.96/5

Learning materials

4.99/5
4.98/5
I am growing in confidence all the time with German - and progressively enjoying the lessons more - because of the lesson planning, variety and patient explanation of my teacher. Karolin is very flexible and sets out the lessons and objectives very clearly. She is an excellent teacher.
Karolin G. Karolin G. DE

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

Hello,

my name is Nina, I'm from Austria and I also lived for one year and a half in Canada. I worked there as a German Teacher for adults, so I speak German, English and French.

I also teach English for beginners and advanced beginners

My teaching methodes are totally based on the level of my student. If somebody is already advanced, I focus on communication and pronunciation. We will arrange on a topic and talk and discuss in the lesson about it.  

If my student is a beginner, I'm gonna start with the basics of the German language. (the articles, the verb "to be", the pronouns...) 

The learning material is all made by myself, because I'm a German teacher, so that means, I already got lots of working sheets for many topics. I send these to my student via e-mail or put it directly on the coLanguage homepage. 

I'm available from Monday to Thursday between 5pm and 08:00 pm. For the weekend it's the best to just send me a request.

Of course is a free trial lesson (it's about 20 minutes) possible.

I'm happy to teach you :-)

See you soon! Nina

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

4.97/5

Learning materials

5/5
4.99/5
vielen Dank Nina! It was very interesting lesson with Nina. She was helping me a lot to understand better verbs with Akkusativ and Dativ objects. She was correcting my sentences and was typing them for me, so I can come back to them again and repeat and remember them. Danke schön nochmal :)
Nina V. Nina V. AT

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

So with me you can learn all the tipps to improve or learn German. I also worked as an Engineer for several years so we can as well work on your vocabulary in a technical level. 

I am a great fan of new cultures and languages. 

Feel free to contact me for a class :) 

Reviews

Teaching methodology

4.95/5

Communication

4.98/5

Punctuality

4.99/5

Internet connection

4.95/5

Learning materials

4.96/5
4.95/5
Olivia has been amazing in helping learn German in a crash course fashion. She has materials for exactly the things I needed to know and helped me understand the bare minimum (which is what I was going for) to help me get my ideas across and understand the structure of what people are saying. She is a fantastic teacher.
Olivia  P. Olivia P.

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

Hello!

My name's Eleonora. I am from Ukraine.  I am a qualified teacher and a Russian native speaker. 

In 2007 I graduated from pedagogical university and since that time I work as a teacher. I love my job and always ready to share my knowledge with everyone.

If you want to improve your Russian, English or German or start learning them you will definitely like my lessons. My classes are developed for each student according to their level, interests and needs.

I try to make lessons various and use different kinds of teaching methods, exercises and technologies. My lessons include:

  • vocabulary enlargement and usage;
  • wide grammar practice
  • reading activities (from texbooks, at higher levels original texts);
  • practicing oral speech.

My schedule is quite flexible so contact me and we'll arrange the time for lessons.

See you!

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
Eleonora is very friendly and methodological teacher, perfectly adapting to students needs. I have enjoyed my every class learning.
Eleonora K. Eleonora K. UA

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

German was my key to the world of possibilities and that's why I want to support you on your language path. German was my main focus in my bachelor's degree in Interpreting and Translation and then I completed my master's degree in intercultural German Studies and German as a Foreign Language. My additional education as an Intercultural Trainer and my practical experience from several international language institutes add value to my German lessons that you can benefit from: Only your focus decides - preparation for a language exam or studies, help with various documents and written works or your wish to improve your German in a communicative way. I would very much like to get to know you in a free trial lesson, so that we can discuss your wishes and requirements and prepare the lessons so that they bring you closer to your goal. And all of this from an intercultural perspective and with my personal experience, because I know your own perspective as well as the challenges that language learning brings with it. I'm looking forward to meeting you!

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
Veronika is a very well prepared young teacher, friendly and professional. Her teaching method adapted perfectly to my needs and requirements. Through conversation lessons she helped me gain confidence in my spoken German. I highly recommend her for new starters as well as for students who already have some basic knowledge of German.
Veronika J. Veronika J. SK

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

Thanks to many years of experience, I offer you professional language instruction via Skype.
I am a native speaker (bilingual German and English) and have been working with Skype for over 9 years. The courses are optimally tailored to your language level and job description. Arrange a trial lesson.
Proficient handling of everyday German, leading to various certificates (Goethe Certificates, DaF etc.), specific courses for the professional field (hotel, tourism, law, medicine - FACHSPRACHENPRÜFUNG MEDIZIN, technology, business.....).
 

Reviews

Teaching methodology

4.24/5

Communication

4.5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

4.5/5

Learning materials

4.23/5
4.49/5
I'm learning German with Belinda (currently B1) and I am trying to do a final push, so i can finally start speaking. Classes are very well prepared and structured. The book/ books used in the class have exercises that actually make your brain work and are not always easy to do ( this is for people who had experience with easy and boring grammar materials). We play dialogues, we have conversations through which the teacher understands where I am with my level and is trying to make adjustments to the program. And there's a lot of homework (when you ask for it) !!! : )
Belinda W. Belinda W. DE

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5