Using ordinal numbers with events, celebrations, anniversaries in Spanish

Ordinal numbers describe an order/rank. They are often used in Spanish to indicate the position of an event, a celebration or an anniversary within a series, i.e. ones that take place regularly (monthly, annually...). 

To learn about Spanish ordinal numbers from 1st to 10th see Forming ordinal numbers in Spanish (1st, 2nd, 10th...)

Learn about Spanish ordinal numbers (11th to 100th)

Here is a table of representative Spanish ordinal numbers from 11th to 100th. 

  English Spanish

 11th

eleventh undécimo / décimo primero / decimoprimero
 12th twelfth duodécimo / décimo segundo / decimosegundo

13th

thirteenth décimo tercero / decimotercero
14th fourteenth décimo cuarto / decimocuarto
15th fifthteenth décimo quinto / decimoquinto
16th sixthteenth

décimo sexto / decimosexto

17th seventeenth

décimo séptimo / decimoséptimo

18th eighteenth

décimo octavo / decimoctavo

19th nineteenth

décimo noveno / decimonoveno

20th twentieth

vigésimo

21st twenty-first

vigésimo primero / vigesimoprimero

22nd twenty- second

vigésimo segundo / vigesimosegundo

23rd

twenty-third

vigésimo tercero / vigesimotercero

30th thirtieth

trigésimo

31st thirty-first

trigésimo primero 

32nd thirty-second

trigésimo segundo

33rd thirty-third

trigésimo tercero

40th fortieth

cuadragésimo

41st forty-first

cuadragésimo primero

50th fiftieth

quincuagésimo

60th sixtieth sexagésimo
70th seventieth

septuagésimo

80th eightieth

octogésimo

90th ninetieth

nonagésimo

100th hundredth

centésimo

 

Agreement in Spanish ordinal numbers

Ordinal number are adjectives and as such, they must agree in gender and number with the noun they accompany (-o, -a, -os, -as): vigésimo aniversario, vigésima edición, vigésimos aniversarios, vigésimas ediciones

When the ordinal number is a compound one (two words) both numbers must agree in gender with the noun:

el décimo sexto concurso

la décima sexta conferencia

When the ordinal number is a simple one (one word only) then the agreement shows in the last letter only:

el decimosexto concurso

la decimosexta conferencianot la decimasexta edición

 

El próximo año será la cuadragésima cuarta edición de la Feria Internacional de Turismo.Next year will be the 44th edition of the International Tourism Fair.

Asistimos a la trigésima séptima edición de los Premios Goya.We went to the 37th edition of the Goya awards.

Este es el vigésimo aniversario de la pareja.This is the couple's 20th anniversary.

 

Extra name for 11th and 12th

For 11th and 12th there is an extra name: undécimo and duodécimo.

No era el undécimo concurso sino el duodécimo.It wasn't the 11th contest but the 12th.

La undécima gala fue un éxito.The 11th gala was a success.

 

Written accent loss in Spanish ordinal numbers

When the single word ordinal is used, e.g. decimoprimero, vigesimosexta, vigesimocuarta..., the written accent from the first ordinal number is lost: décimoprimero

 

Only compound word from 30th

For the first two tens of the ordinal numbers (tens and twenties) the simple and compound spelling are permitted (décimo cuarto or decimocuarto, for example) but from 30th only the compound form (two separate numbers) is permitted: 

trigésimo séptimo

trigesimoséptimo

Celebrarán su vigesimoquinto aniversario.They'll celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Celebrarán su trigésimo quinto aniversario.They'll celebrate their 35th anniversary.

 

General loss of "o" for octavo

When using an ordinal number involving "octavo", and it's written in one word, the recommended spelling is to use only one "o" at the point where the compound word joins e.g. decimoctavo, vigesimoctavo, thus avoiding the repetition of the letter "o" (decimooctavo, vigesimooctavo).

Este es su vigesimoctavo concurso.This is her 28th contest.

Esta es su vigesimoctava película.This is her 28th movie.

 

Shorter forms of 1st and 3rd

The shorter forms of 1st and 3rd (primer, tercer) need to be used as usual, for example: el vigesimoprimer aniversario, el decimotercer concurso. See Primero and tercero become primer and tercer before a noun (Spanish apócope)

Disfrutamos mucho el decimotercer espectáculo.We really enjoyed the 13th show.

Ordinal numbers abbreviations in Spanish: la letra volada

In English, ordinal numbers are marked with st, ndrd or th after the number, in Spanish we use superscript (called "letra volada") for the abbreviation of the ordinal that we place after the digit. We use º with a masculine noun, and we use ª with a feminine noun, and er for 1er and 3er (primer / tercer).

It's also necessary to use a full stop/period between the number and the "letra volada"

20.º, 15.ª, 33.er

la 37.ª concursantethe 37th contestant (female)

el 29.º concursantethe 29th contestant

el 13.er lugarthe 13th place

 

Roman numerals used and read as ordinal numbers

Sometimes Roman numerals are also used to talk about certain events. In this case, the Roman numeral is placed before the noun and it's read as an ordinal number. For example:

 

XX Congreso Internacional de la Lengua EspañolaXX International Congress of the Spanish Language

XXXIV Campeonato Mundial de Ajedrez34th World Chess Championship

Careful! Not all Roman numerals are used and read the same way. See also How to express centuries in Spanish with Roman numerals and more information about Roman numerals here in How to use Roman numerals in Spanish

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

The good news is that it's also equally correct to use the cardinal number in front of the events, celebrations, anniversaries, and you write and read them as a cardinal number.

For example you can also write and say:

Fue el 20 certamen de los premios de poesía juvenil.It was the 20th juvenile poetry awards contest.

Ayer celebramos nuestro 30 aniversario como casados.Yesterday we celebrated our 30th anniversary as a married couple.

Le regalé un viaje en globo por su 80 cumpleaños.I bought him a hot air balloon experience for his 80th birthday.

 

See also Expressing fractions in Spanish and Using numbers with nouns in Spanish

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Examples and resources

Asistimos a la trigésima séptima edición de los Premios Goya.We went to the 37th edition of the Goya awards.
Este es el vigésimo aniversario de la pareja.This is the couple's 20th anniversary.
XX Congreso Internacional de la Lengua EspañolaXX International Congress of the Spanish Language
La undécima gala fue un éxito.The 11th gala was a success.
XXXIV Campeonato Mundial de Ajedrez34th World Chess Championship
Fue el 20 certamen de los premios de poesía juvenil.It was the 20th juvenile poetry awards contest.
El próximo año será la cuadragésima cuarta edición de la Feria Internacional de Turismo.Next year will be the 44th edition of the International Tourism Fair.
la 37.ª concursantethe 37th contestant (female)
Ayer celebramos nuestro 30 aniversario como casados.Yesterday we celebrated our 30th anniversary as a married couple.
Le regalé un viaje en globo por su 80 cumpleaños.I bought him a hot air balloon experience for his 80th birthday.
Celebrarán su vigesimoquinto aniversario.They'll celebrate their 25th anniversary.
el 13.er lugarthe 13th place
Ellos organizaron el trigesimosexto festival de cine.They organized the 36th cinema festival.
No era el undécimo concurso sino el duodécimo.It wasn't the 11th contest but the 12th.
Este es su vigesimoctavo concurso.This is her 28th contest.
Esta es su vigesimoctava película.This is her 28th movie.
Disfrutamos mucho el decimotercer espectáculo.We really enjoyed the 13th show.
el 29.º concursantethe 29th contestant
Celebrarán su trigésimo quinto aniversario.They'll celebrate their 35th anniversary.
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