Ordinal Numbers – Definition with Examples

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Ordinal Numbers

Cardinal numbers

The numbers which give us the exact quantity of an object are called cardinal numbers. In other words, cardinal numbers answer “How many?”

For instance: The given picture shows 4 cars in a parking lot.  Hence, 4 or ‘four’ here is a cardinal number.

Cardinal Numbers

Ordinal numbers

The numbers which give us the exact position of an object are called ordinal numbers. Ordinal numbers tell the position of an object rather than their quantity. 

For instance:

Example 1- The given picture shows different floors in a building. We can use ordinal numbers to define their position.

The numbers 1st(First), 2nd(Second), 3rd(Third), 4th(Fourth), 5th(Fifth), 6th(Sixth), 7th(Seventh), 8th(Eighth), 9th(Ninth) and 10th(Tenth) tell the position of different floors in the building. Hence, all of them are ordinal numbers.

Ordinal Numbers

Example 2-The given picture shows some athletes competing in a 400 m race. We can use ordinal numbers to define their position.

Example 2

The numbers 1st(First), 2nd(Second), 3rd(Third), 4th(Fourth), 5th(Fifth), 6th(Sixth), 7th(Seventh), 8th(Eighth), 9th(Ninth) and 10th(Tenth) tell the position of different athletes in the race. Hence, all of them are ordinal numbers.

Comparison Chart: Ordinal Numbers v/s Cardinal Numbers

Cardinal NumbersOrdinal Numbers
1One1stFirst
2Two2ndSecond
3Three3rdThird
4Four4thFourth
5Five5thFifth
6Six6thSixth
7Seven7thSeventh
8Eight8thEighth
9Nine9thNinth
10Ten10thTenth
11Eleven11thEleventh
12Twelve12thTwelfth
13Thirteen13thThirteenth
14Fourteen14thFourteenth
15Fifteen15thFifteenth
Fun Fact
– 11, 12 and 13 are the only numbers to use a suffix ‘–th’ but all other numbers ending with 1 use ‘–st’, 2 use ‘–nd’ and 3 use ‘–rd’.

Ordinal Numbers – Definition with Examples

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