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Ordinal Numbers

An ordinal number refers to the position of objects. In other words, it shows the place taken by an element in a series, e.g., first, fifth, 21st (a complete list is noted below).

Teaching Ordinal Numbers

By the end of kindergarten, a child should be able to identify the position of an object using the numbers first through fifth.

first second third fourth fifth

Using objects such as a doll or match box car, help your child grasp ordinal numbers by lining up five objects and then ask questions, e.g., which car is second in line? Which one is fifth? First? Make sure you change the direction the cars are facing so the last one becomes the first – this will reinforce that order is determined by which direction the object is facing not the way we read (left to right). Once your child has mastered these positions, educators suggest going to the tenth position.

The order of objects is based on where they face NOT as you read!

Ordinal Numbers Worksheet

We offer two fun worksheet that help a child grasp the first through fifth positions.

List of Ordinal Numbers

1 one first 1st
2 two second 2nd
3 three third 3rd
4 four fourth 4th
5 five fifth 5th
6 six sixth 6th
7 seven seventh 7th
8 eight eight 8th
9 nine ninth 9th
10 ten tenth 10th
11 eleven eleventh 11th
12 twelve twelfth 12th
13 thirteen thirteenth 13th
14 fourteen fourteenth 14th
15 fifteen fifteenth 15th
16 sixteen sixteenth 16th
17 seventeen seventeenth 17th
18 eighteen eighteenth 18th
19 nineteen nineteenth 19th
20 twenty twentieth 20th

Ordinal Numbers Fun Facts

Do you see a pattern in ordinal numbers? Just add th after each word. For example, six = sixth and ten = tenth. Of course, like all things in life, there are exceptions. They are as follows:

Exception 1: The Odd Balls

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

Exception 2: Change the Y to IE

If the word ends with a “y,” drop the “y” and add “ie.”

  • twenty = twentieth
  • thirty = thirtieth
  • ninety = ninetieth

Do you see another pattern? When written as an ordinal figure, you write the number plus the last two letters of the written word.

  • first = 1st
  • second = 2nd
  • third = 3rd
  • fourth = 4th

Compound Ordinal Numbers

When writing compound ordinal numbers only, the last number is written as an ordinal number. For example, the number 31 would be thirty-first NOT thirtieth-first.

Ordinal Numbers – by Tens

Number Word Ordinal
Ordinal Number
10 ten tenth 10th
20 twenty twentieth 20th
30 thirty thirtieth 30th
40 forty fortieth 40th
50 fifty fiftieth 50th
60 sixty sixtieth 60th
70 seventy seventieth 70th
80 eighty eightieth 80th
90 ninety ninetieth 90th
100 one hundred one hundredth 100th

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