Numerals: Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers

numeral is a figure, a symbol, a word (or their combinations) representing a number. 
It denotes the number of objects, their number, and also the order when counting objects. There are cardinal and ordinal numbers.

  •  I have two apples.
  •  There are twenty-five pencils in the box.
  •  I’ve already asked him three times.

Cardinal numerals

We use cardinal numbers to count or to say how many of something there are.

  • Five plums.
  • Forty cars.
  • One million dollars.
  • I ate ten apples.
Cardinal Numerals
1

One


2

Two

3

Three

4

Four

5

Five

6

Six

7

Seven

8

Eight

9

Nine



10

Ten

11

Eleven

12

Twelve

13
Thirteen
14

Fourteen

15

Fifteen

16

Sixteen

17

Seventeen

18

Eighteen

19

Nineteen

20

Twenty

21

Twenty-one

22

Twenty-two

23

Twenty-three

24

Twenty-four

25

Twenty-five

26

Twenty-six

27

Twenty-seven

28

Twenty-eight

29

Twenty-nine

30

Thirty

40

Forty

50

Fifty

60

Sixty

70

Seventy

80

Eighty

90

Ninety

100

One hundred

1,000

One thousand

1,000,000

One million

1,000,000,000

One billion

Compound numerals, (numbers consisting of two words), from 21-99 should be hyphenated.

  • We invited twenty-five people to the dinner.

For higher numerals, we can add ‘and’ between the second last word and the final word.

  • He requested nine hundred and ten plates.
  • Where did you get all four hundred and fifty-five of these?

When saying large cardinal numerals we don’t add ‘-s’ to the words ‘hundred’, ‘thousand’ and ‘million’:

  • There are two hundred eight (208) pupils in our school.
  • There are five thousand eight hundred thirty (5,830) kilometers between New-York and Paris.

To avoid misunderstandings with certain similar-sounding cardinal numerals, always stress the correct syllable when pronouncing them.

  • Thirteen (13) → Thirty (30)
  •  Fourteen (14) → Forty (40)
  •  Fifteen (15) → Fifty (50)
  •  Sixteen (16) → Sixty (60)
  •  Seventeen (17) → Seventy (70)
  •  Eighteen (18) → Eighty (80)
  •  Nineteen (19) → Ninety (90)

Watch this video and find out about small and big numbers:

Ordinal numbers

We use ordinal numerals to express position or rank of something in a sequential order of size, chronology, importance, etc.

  • The first song was beautiful, but the second was rather dull.
  • The thousandth passenger received a reward.
  • Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.
  • He came in fourth (4th) in the race.

Spelling of ordinal numbers

We can write ordinal numbers in two ways – a numerical form or in written, word form.

In the numerical form, we add the suffix ‘-th’ to most ordinal numbers. However, 1, 2, and 3, have special suffixes: ‘-st’ (first), ‘-nd’ (second), and ‘-rd’ (third).

  •  1st
  •  2nd
  •  3rd
  •  4th
  •  5th
  •  6th
  •  10th
  •  15th
  •  20th
  •  21st

The written form follows the same rules except we add the suffixes to the word.

  • First
  • Second
  • Third
  • Fourth
  • Fifth
  • Sixth
  • Tenth
  • Fifteenth
  • Twentieth (note the change in spelling from ‘y’ to ‘ie’)
  • Twenty-first (note the hyphen is still necessary)

In some cases, the spelling of the numeral is modified to accommodate the suffix:

  • one – first
  • two – second
  • three – third
  • five – fifth
  • eight – eighth
  • nine – ninth
  • twelve – twelfth

Additionally, for cardinal numbers ending in ‘-y’ we change it to ‘-ie’ in ordinal numbers:

  •  twenty – twentieth
  • forty – fortieth
  • sixty – sixtieth

In compound numerals ‘-th’ is added to the last word.

  • one million – one-millionth
  • two hundred – two-hundredth
Ordinal Numerals
1st

First

2nd

Second

3rd

Third

4th

Fourth

5th

Fifth

6th

Sixth

7th

Seventh

8th

Eighth

9th

Ninth

10th

Tenth

11th

Eleventh

12th

Twelfth

13th

Thirteenth

14th

Fourteenth

15th

Fifteenth

16th

Sixteenth

17th

Seventeenth

18th

Eighteenth

19th

Nineteenth

20th

Twentieth

21st

Twenty-first

22nd

Twenty-second

23rd

Twenty- third

24th

Twenty-fourth

25th

Twenty-fifth

26th

Twenty- sixth

27th

Twenty- seventh

28th

Twenty-eighth

29th

Twenty-ninth

30th

Thirtieth

40th

Fortieth

50th

Fiftieth

60th

Sixtieth

70th

Seventieth

80th

Eightieth

90th

Ninetieth

100th

One-hundredth

1,000th

One-thousandth

1,000,000th

One-millionth

1,000,000,000th

One-billionth

In this video, you’ll learn how to use ordinal and cardinal numbers:

See also:

Numerals: Dates and Time

Related Articles

Prepositions of Time

Table Of Contents:Cardinal numeralsOrdinal numbersSpelling of ordinal numbersCommon prepositions of timePreposition ‘ON’Preposition ‘AT’Preposition ‘IN’Prepositions ‘PAST’ and ‘TO’Prepositions ‘FROM…UNTIL’ and ‘BETWEEN…AND…’Preposition ‘UNTIL’ / ‘TIL’Prepositions ‘SINCE’ and … Read more

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