Ordinal Numbers

Números ordinales

Spanish ordinal numbers
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Ordinal numbers are essential for lists: they denote the rank, position, or order of items in a group, whether that group is made up of people, objects, or things to do.

Por ejemplo…

Pablo está en segundo lugar, y David en quinto.   Pablo is in second place, and David is in fifth.
En primer lugar, tenemos que elegir un presidente.   In the first place, we need to choose a chairperson.

Spanish ordinal numbers

first   primero
second   segundo 2nd
third   tercero
fourth   cuarto 4th
fifth   quinto 5th
sixth   sexto 6th
seventh    séptimo 7th
eighth   octavo 8th
ninth   noveno 9th
tenth   décimo 10th  10º

 When primero and tercero precede a masculine noun, they change to the short-form adjectives primer and tercer.

Por ejemplo…

José está en segundo lugar y Alberto está en quinto.   José is in second place and Alberto is in fifth.
En primer lugar, tenemos que elegir un presidente.   In the first place, The first thing we need to do is choose a chairperson.


  • As shown in the table above, Spanish ordinal numbers can be abbreviated with superscript letters called letras voladas.
  • Like most Spanish nouns, ordinal numbers end in o when masculine and a when feminine: el segundo 2o / la segunda .
  • The ordinal numbers up to tenth usually precede the noun. After tenth, however, ordinal numbers are commonly expressed with just the cardinal number after the noun:
el segundo piso   the second floor
el piso veinte   the twentieth floor

 Most ordinal numbers are identical to their corresponding fractions.

 If you have trouble remembering the difference between ordinal and cardinal numbers, try this mnemonic:

  • ordinals are for ordering
  • cardinals are for counting cards

 Related lessons

Learn French En français

Learn Italian In italiano

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Ordinal numbers in Spanish

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