# Cardinal and ordinal numbers in English

## 1. The numbers in English

### 1.1. Cardinal numbers

Cardinal numbers say how many people or things there are.

Examples:

- There are
**five**books on the desk. - Ron is
**ten**years old.

#### 1.1.1. Numbers bigger than 20

Use a **hyphen** between compound numbers.

Number | Word |
---|---|

21 | twenty-one |

55 | fifty-five |

99 | ninety-nine |

#### 1.1.2. Numbers bigger than 100

Use a **hyphen** between compound numbers and the word and.

Use either the definite article **a** or **one** for 100.

Number | Word |
---|---|

121 | a/one hundred and twenty-one |

356 | three hundred and fifty-six |

999 | nine hundred and ninety-nine |

In American English and is mostly not used.

#### 1.1.3.Numbers bigger than 1,000

Use a **hyphen** between compound numbers and the word and.

Use either the definite article **a** or **one** for 1,000.

Separate three digits with a comma (**,**) → 50,000.

Number | Word |
---|---|

1,121 | a/one thousand and one hundred and twenty-one |

2,356 | two thousand and three hundred and fifty-six |

9,999 | nine thousand and nine hundred and ninety-nine |

305,234 | three hundred and five thousand and two hundred and thirty-four |

In American English and is mostly not used.

#### 1.1.4. The number 0

There are different words for the number 0.

Word | Explanation | Example |
---|---|---|

oh | single digits (telephone numbers, codes) | 67890 six - seven - eight - nine - oh |

zero | measurements (temperature) | -5 °C five degrees Celsius below zero |

nought | figure 0 in British English* | 5 - 5 = 0 Five minus five leaves nought. |

nil | results in sport | The match ended 2 - 0. The match ended two - nil. |

love | tennis | 40 - 0 forty - love |

* In American English *zero* is used.

#### 1.1.5. Year

see: The date and the year in English

### 1.2. Ordinal numbers

Add **th** to the cardinal number to form the ordinal number: six → six**th**

Add **the last two letters of the written word** to the figure. → 4**th**

**Numbers in words: **The ordinal numbers 1**st** → fir**st**, 2**nd** → seco**nd** and 3**rd** → thi**rd** are irregular. Be careful with the spelling of the words for 5**th**, 8**th**, 9**th**, 12**th** and the words ending in * -y*.

Cardinal numbers | Ordinal numbers | ||
---|---|---|---|

1 | one | 1st |
first |

2 | two | 2nd |
second |

3 | three | 3rd |
third |

5 | five | 5th |
fifth |

8 | eight | 8th |
eighth |

9 | nine | 9th |
ninth |

12 | twelve | 12th |
twelfth |

20 | twenty | 20th |
twentieth |

Ordinal numbers | |
---|---|

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 |

31st |
thirty-first |

### 1.3. Fractions and decimals

#### 1.3.1. Fractions

Use the **ordinal number** for the **denominator**:

- 1/3 → one
**third** - 2 3/5 → two and three
**fifths**

Exceptions:

- 1/2 → one half
- 1/4 → one quarter

#### 1.3.2. Decimals

Use the **cardinal number** for decimals:

- 3.8 → three point
**eight** - 4.25 → four point
**two five**

### 1.4. Roman numbers

Roman numbers are seldom used. They are used for the names of kings and queens. Use the ordinal number:

- Elisabeth II → Elisabeth the Second
- Louis XIV → Louis the Fourteenth

## 2. The numbers in a table

Cardinal numbers | Ordinal numbers | ||
---|---|---|---|

0 | oh, zero, nil, love, nought | --- | |

1 | one | 1st |
first |

2 | two | 2nd |
second |

3 | three | 3rd |
third |

4 | four | 4th |
fourth |

5 | five | 5th |
fifth |

6 | six | 6th |
sixth |

7 | seven | 7th |
seventh |

8 | eight | 8th |
eighth |

9 | nine | 9th |
ninth |

10 | ten | 10th |
tenth |

11 | eleven | 11th |
eleventh |

12 | twelve | 12th |
twelfth |

13 | thirteen | 13th |
thirteenth |

14 | fourteen | 14th |
fourteenth |

15 | fifteen | 15th |
fifteenth |

16 | sixteen | 16th |
sixteenth |

17 | seventeen | 17th |
seventeenth |

18 | eighteen | 18th |
eighteenth |

19 | nineteen | 19th |
nineteenth |

20 | twenty | 20th |
twentieth |

21 | twenty-one | 21st |
twenty-first |

22 | twenty-two | 22nd |
twenty-second |

23 | twenty-three | 23rd |
twenty-third |

24 | twenty-four | 24th |
twenty-fourth |

25 | twenty-five | 25th |
twenty-fifth |

26 | twenty-six | 26th |
twenty-sixth |

27 | twenty-seven | 27th |
twenty-seventh |

28 | twenty-eight | 28th |
twenty-eighth |

29 | twenty-nine | 29th |
twenty-ninth |

30 | thirty | 30th |
thirtieth |

31 | thirty-one | 31st |
thirty-first |

40 | forty | ||

50 | fifty | ||

60 | sixty | ||

70 | seventy | ||

80 | eighty | ||

90 | ninety | ||

100 | a/one hundred | ||

1,000 | a/one thousand | ||

10,000 | ten thousand | ||

100,000 | a/one hundred thousand | ||

1,000,000 | a/one million | ||

1,000,000,000 | a/one billion |