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Forming ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 10th...)

Ordinal numbers describe an order/rank.

Here are the Spanish ordinal numbers from 1st to 10th. Some of them have the same form as their fraction equivalents.

  English Spanish

 1st

first  primero/-a
 2nd second  segundo/-a

3rd

third tercero/-a
4th fourth cuarto/-a
5th fifth quinto/-a
6th sixth

sexto/-a

7th seventh

séptimo/-a

8th eighth

octavo/-a

9th ninth

noveno/-a

10th tenth

décimo/-a

 Here are some examples:

Juan es el primero de su clase.John is first in his class.

María es la primera mujer de Carlos.María is Carlos's first wife.

Nosotros vivimos en la segunda planta.We live on the second floor.

Esta es la tercera vez que te aviso.This is the third time I'm warning you.

Quiero pasear por la Quinta Avenida de Nueva York.I want to walk along Fifth Avenue in New York.

El sexto día, después de la operación, tuve una infección.The sixth day after the operation, I got an infection.

El octavo chico de la fila es mi amigo Luis.The eighth boy in the queue is my friend Luis.

Mis primeros días en el trabajo nuevo han sido estresantes.My first days at my new job have been stressful.

Hemos quedado terceras en el concurso.We came in third place in the competition.

Notice how in Spanish the ordinal number must agree in gender and number with the noun it is referring to. 

Very often ordinal numbers are accompanied by determiners such as articles (el, la, los...) or possessives (mi, nuestro...). Bear in mind that these must agree with the number and noun as well, e.g "la primera planta", "nuestro segundo nieto", etc.

 

First and third before masculine singular nouns

Note that primero (first) and tercero (third) have a shorter form when they are placed in front of a masculine singular noun.

Carlos no es mi primer marido. Carlos is not my first husband.

Este es su tercer año en la universidad.This is his third year at the university.

Cardinal numbers = 1, 2, 3, etc.

Ordinal numbers = describe an order/rank = 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

Fractions = describe a part of a whole = half, third, fourth, etc.

See also Expressing fractions in Spanish and Using numbers + nouns

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Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nosotros vivimos en la segunda planta.We live on the second floor.
Juan es el primero de su clase.John is first in his class.
Carlos no es mi primer marido. Carlos is not my first husband.
María es la primera mujer de Carlos.María is Carlos's first wife.
Hemos quedado terceras en el concurso.We came in third place in the competition.
Esta es la tercera vez que te aviso.This is the third time I'm warning you.
Mis primeros días en el trabajo nuevo han sido estresantes.My first days at my new job have been stressful.
Quiero pasear por la Quinta Avenida de Nueva York.I want to walk along Fifth Avenue in New York.
El octavo chico de la fila es mi amigo Luis.The eighth boy in the queue is my friend Luis.
El sexto día, después de la operación, tuve una infección.The sixth day after the operation, I got an infection.
Este es su tercer año en la universidad.This is his third year at the university.
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