Ordinal Numbers in Spanish – “Primero, Segundo, Tercero…”

Spanish Ordinal Numbers: Primero, Segundo, Tercero... Learn and Practice Them

Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish Ordinal Numbers.

Ordinal Numbers (primero, segundo, tercero…) are numbers that express order within a sequence. They are equivalent to the English “first, second, third, etc”.

In this lesson, we will learn all Spanish Ordinal Numbers from 1st to 1000th.

We will also study their abbreviations, and some grammar tips to use ordinal numbers in sentences.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.

Note: If you wish to learn Cardinal Numbers instead (equivalent to the English “one, two, three…”), then click here.

List of Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

From 1 to 10:

All of these consist of just one word:

AbbreviationOrdinal Number
1.ºprimero
2.ºsegundo
3.ºtercero
4.ºcuarto
5.ºquinto
6.ºsexto
7.ºséptimo
8.ºoctavo
9.ºnoveno
10.ºdécimo

From 11 to 19:

Still written with just one word, consisting of decimo- followed by the words learned in the previous table (but 18th = decimoctavo, not “decimooctavo“)

AbbreviationOrdinal Number
11.ºdecimoprimero (or "undécimo")
12.ºdecimosegundo (or "duodécimo")
13.ºdecimotercero
14.ºdecimocuarto
15.ºdecimoquinto
16.ºdecimosexto
17.ºdecimoséptimo
18.ºdecimoctavo
19.ºdecimonoveno

From 20 to 99:

We need to learn each of the tens (30, 40, 50…). Then, if the number also has units, we write two separate words:

AbbreviationOrdinal Number
20.ºvigésimo
21.ºvigésimo primero
27.ºvigésimo séptimo
30.ºtrigésimo
33.ºtrigésimo tercero
38.ºtrigésimo octavo
40.ºcuadragésimo
45.ºcuadragésimo quinto
50.ºquincuagésimo
60.ºsexagésimo
70.ºseptuagésimo
80.ºoctogésimo
90.ºnonagésimo
99.ºnonagésimo noveno

From 100 to 1000:

Just learn each of the hundreds (100, 200, 300…). Then keep adding words if there are also tens and units:

AbbreviationOrdinal Number
100.ºcentésimo
113.ºcentésimo decimotercero
185.ºcentésimo octogésimo quinto
200.ºducentésimo
220.ºducentésimo vigésimo
296.ºducentésimo nonagésimo sexto
300.ºtricentésimo
381.ºtricentésimo octogésimo primero
400.ºcuadringentésimo
500.ºquingentésimo
600.ºsexcentésimo
700.ºseptingentésimo
800.ºoctingentésimo
900.ºnoningentésimo
999.ºnoningentésimo nonagésimo noveno
1000.ºmilésimo

Feminine and Plural Forms

Until this point, we have learned only the masculine form for each Ordinal Number.

However, these numbers tend to work as adjectives or pronouns, and in that case they need to match the gender and number of the noun or pronoun they refer to.

If the ordinal number consists of more than one word, we need to match each word in gender and number. 

Examples:

Abbreviation
(of masculine singular)
Masculine SingularFeminine SingularMasculine PluralFeminine Plural
2.ºsegundosegundasegundossegundas
17.ºdecimoséptimodecimoséptimadecimoséptimosdecimoséptimas
39.ºtrigésimo novenotrigésima novenatrigésimos novenostrigésimas novenas
225.ºducentésimo vigésimo quintoducentésima vigésima quintaducentésimos vigésimos quintosducentésimas vigésimas quintas

Sentences with Ordinal Numbers

Here are some example sentences. Notice how ordinal numbers match the gender and number of the noun or pronoun they refer to:

Es la séptima ciudad más grande del mundo.
It’s the 7th biggest city in the world.

Ellos han sido séptimos en el concurso.
They have been 7th in the competition.

Mi edificio es el trigésimo octavo en esta calle.
My building is the 38th in this street.

Chicas, sois las trigésimas octavas en hacer esa pregunta.
Girls, you are the 38th to make that question.

Short Forms “primer” and “tercer”

For any ordinal number ending in “primero” or “tercero” (including “decimoprimero” and “decimotercero”) there is also a short form that drops the final “o”: primer, tercer, decimoprimer, decimotercer, vigésimo primer, vigésimo tercer…

We use this short form only when the ordinal number is placed right before a masculine singular noun.

Examples: 

Vivo en el tercer piso.
I live in the 13th floor.(“tercer” is right before “piso”, a masculine singular noun)

Has llegado en el decimoprimer puesto.
You have arrived in 11th place. (“decimoprimer” is right before “puesto”, a masculine singular noun)

If not placed right before a masculine singular noun, we don’t use the short form:

Vivo en el tercero.
I live in the 13th. (meaning the 13th floor)

Learn more about short-form adjectives in Spanish!


Abbreviation of Ordinal Numbers

Just like in English we can write “1st” instead of “first” and “2nd” instead of “second”, we can can also use abbreviations for Spanish ordinal numbers.

The formulas to get the abbreviated forms are:

If the ordinal number ends in “-o”, then Abbreviation = numeral.superscript “o”

cuarto → 4.º

trigésimo noveno → 39.º

If the ordinal number ends in “-a”, then Abbreviation = numeral.superscript “a”

cuarta → 4.ª

trigésima novena → 39.ª

If the ordinal number ends in “-os”, then Abbreviation = numeral.superscript “os”

cuartos → 4.os

trigésimos novenos → 39.os

If the ordinal number ends in “-as”, then Abbreviation = numeral.superscript “as”

cuartas → 4.as

trigésimas novenas → 39.as

If the ordinal number ends in “-er” (short forms “primer”, “tercer”, etc) then Abbreviation = numeral.superscript “er”

primer → 1.er

vigésimo tercer → 23.er

Practice

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Spanish Ordinal Numbers!:

Exercise

Now we are going to practice with sentences.

Fill the gaps using Ordinal Numbers:

a) ¡Es la ______ (5.ª) vez que me preguntas mi nombre!
This is the fifth time you’ve asked my name!

b) Vivimos en la ______ (7.ª) planta.
We live on the seventh floor.

c) México es el ______ (13.er) país más extenso del mundo.
Mexico is the thirteenth largest country in the world.

d) Enero es el ______ (1.er) mes del año. Es el _____ (1.º).
January is the first month of the year. It is the first one.

e) Hemos sido _______ (8.os) en la competición por equipos.
We were eighth in the team competition.

f) ¡Felicidades por tu _______ (29.a) medalla!
Congratulations on your twenty-ninth medal!

Solutions:
a) quinta
b) séptima
c) decimotercer
d) primer – primero
e) octavos
f) vigésima novena