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Spanish ordinal numbers

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Ordinal numbers (números ordinales) tell the position of something in a list. 

They are used both as adjectives and pronouns. If they are placed before a noun, they serve as adjectives.

Example: 

Es la quinta vez que llamo a Sandra. (This is the fifth time I am calling Sandra.)

enlightenedThe ordinal numbers from 11th on are seldom used. For larger numbers, it is common to use the cardinal number.

  Example:

Nacimos en el siglo veinte  VS  We were born in the twentieth century 

How to form ordinal numbers 

The ordinal numbers from first (primero) to tenth (décimo) have unique forms and are used to form most of the other ordinal numbers. 

enlightenedTo form ordinal numbers between 20 and 99, use the following formula: 

       base number (divisible by 10) + ordinal number between primero (first) and noveno (ninth)

       Example: 

       Fifty-fifth: quincuagésimo (base number) + quinto (ordinal number)

enlightenedTo form ordinal numbers between 101 and 999, write out each successive ordinal number as a separate word.

       Example: 

       Three hundred forty-second: tricentésimo + cuadragésimo + segundo

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Spanish ordinal numbers 1-100

NumberOrdinal NumberEnglish translation
1primerofirst
2segundosecond
3tercerothird
4cuartofourth
5quintofifth
6sextosixth
7séptimoseventh
8octavoeighth
9novenoninth
10décimotenth
11

undécimo

decimoprimero

eleventh
12

duodécimo

decimosegundo

twelfth
13decimotercerothirteenth
14decimocuartofourteenth
15decimoquintofifteenth
16decimosextosixteenth
17decimoséptimoseventeenth
18decimoctavoeighteenth
19decimonovenonineteenth
20vigésimotwentieth
21vigésimo primerotwenty-first
30trigésimothirtieth
40cuadragésimofortieth
50quincuagésimofiftieth
60sexagésimosixtieth
70septuagésimoseventieth
80octogésimoeightieth
90nonagésimoninetieth
100centésimoone hundredth

Spanish ordinal numbers above 100

NumberOrdinal numberEnglish translation
101centésimo primeroone hundredth first
200ducentésimotwo hundredth
300tricentésimothree hundredth
400cuadrigentésimofour hundredth
500quingentésimofive hundredth
600sexcentésimosix hundredth
700septigéntesimoseven hundredth
800octingentésimoeight hundredth
900nonigentésimonine hundredth
1000milésimoone thousandth
2000dosmilésimotwo thousandth
3000tresmilésimothree thousandth
4000cuatromilésimofour thousandth
5000cincomilésimofive thousandth
6000seismilésimosix thousandth
7000sietemilésimoseven thousandth
8000ochomilésimoeight thousandth
9000nuevemilésimonine thousandth
10,000diezmilésimoten thousandth
1,000,000millonésimoone millionth

Gender and number 

Unlike cardinal numbers, ordinal numbers match the noun they precede in both gender and number.

 MasculineFeminine
Singularprimeroprimera
Pluralprimerosprimeras

Examples:

  • Es el segundo coche que he comprado este año. (This is the second car I have bought this year.)
  • Rafael vive en la segunda planta. (Rafael lives on the second floor.)
  • En los primeros días de febrero, se fueron a Cuba. (On the first days of February, they went to Cuba.)

enlightenedWhen primero and tercero occur before a masculine noun, they drop the -o.

  Examples: 

  • Ángel fue mi primer amor. (Ángel was my first love.)
  • Los Cuesta viven en el tercer piso. (The Cuestas live on the third floor.)

Placement

Ordinal numbers generally occur before the nouns they modify.

However, the ordinal number comes after the noun in following cases:

  • a member of the royalty
  • a pope
  • a street name

Example: 

  • Juan Carlos Primero (Juan Carlos the First)
  • Juan Pablo Segundo (Pope John Paul the Second)

enlightenedIf cardinal and ordinal numbers appear together, the cardinal number is placed before the ordinal number. 

  Example: 

Me encantan los dos primeros capítulos de esta novela. (I like the first two chapters of this novel.)

Abbreviation

Ordinal numbers can also be written using a superscripted o (masculine) or a (feminine).

 Long formAbbreviationEnglish 
MasculinePrimero capítulo1° capítulo1st chapter
FeminineDécima página10a página10th page

Exercises

  1. Spanish ordinal numbers practice quiz
  2. Spanish ordinal numbers 1-100 - Flashcards

Spanish ordinal numbers practice quiz


Spanish ordinal numbers 1-100 - Flashcards


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