Ordinal numbers

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Ordinal numbers

Ordinal numbers are formed like this:

  • Ordinal numbers from 1 to 19: der, die, das + number + ‑te

4 (vier) der vierte Mann

4 (four) the fourth man

5 (fünf) das fünfte Element

5 (five) the fifth element

  • Ordinal numbers from 20 upwards: der, die, das + number + ‑ste

20 (zwanzig) die zwanzigste Idee

20 (twenty) the twentieth idea

30 (dreißig) der dreißigste Geburtstag

30 (thirty) the thirtieth birthday

  • Irregular ordinals:

1 (eins) erste

1 (one) first

3 (drei) dritte

3 (three) third

7 (sieben) siebte

7 (seven) seventh

8 (acht) achte

8 (eight) eighth

Notes:

  • Depending on the gender of the noun, we add der, die or das before the ordinal number.

2 (zwei) die zweite Frau (die Frau = feminin)

2 (two) the second woman

  • Ordinal numbers take the same endings as adjectives, depending on the article used:

Gestern war mein erster Tag im Brandenbutt Hotel.

Yesterday was my first day at the Brandenbutt Hotel.

Sigi hat beim Wettrennen den zweiten Platz belegt.

Sigi finished in second place in the race. 

  • Ordinal numbers can be smushed together with the superlative to create a brand-new word (Germans love doing this kind of stuff). The ‑e at the end of the ordinal number is dropped.

die drittgrößte Stadt Deutschlands

the third largest city in Germany


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