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

Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

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

If you prefer to learn Cardinal Numbers instead (the equivalent of “one, two, three…”), click here for our post about Cardinal Numbers.

In this lesson, we will learn everything about Ordinal Numbers in Spanish, including the basic lists of ordinal numbers, and also some grammar explanations that the Spanish student needs to know regarding this topic.

Let’s get to it!

List of Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

From 1 to 10:

All of these consist of just one word. We just need to learn them one by one… Maybe sing them? Just an idea 😉

1stprimero
2ndsegundo
3rdtercero
4thcuarto
5thquinto
6thsexto
7thséptimo
8thoctavo
9thnoveno
10thdécimo

From 11 to 19:

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

11thdecimoprimero (or "undécimo")
12thdecimosegundo (or "duodécimo")
13thdecimotercero
14thdecimocuarto
15thdecimoquinto
16thdecimosexto
17thdecimoséptimo
18thdecimoctavo
19thdecimonoveno

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:

20thvigésimo
21stvigésimo primero
27thvigésimo séptimo
30thtrigésimo
33rdtrigésimo tercero
38thtrigésimo octavo
40thcuadragésimo
45thcuadragésimo quinto
50thquincuagésimo
60thsexagésimo
70thseptuagésimo
80thoctogésimo
90thnonagésimo
99thnonagésimo noveno

From 100 to 1000:

Just learn each of the hundreds (100, 200, 300…). Then keep adding words if there are tens and units in the number, using the previous tables we have already studied.

100thcentésimo
113rdcentésimo decimotercero
185thcentésimo octogésimo quinto
200thducentésimo
220thducentésimo vigésimo
296thducentésimo nonagésimo sexto
300thtricentésimo
381sttricentésimo octogésimo primero
400thcuadringentésimo
500thquingentésimo
600thsexcentésimo
700thseptingentésimo
800thoctingentésimo
900thnoningentésimo
999thnoningentésimo nonagésimo noveno
1000milésimo

Feminine and Plural Forms of Ordinal Numbers

Up until this point, we have learned the masculine form for each Ordinal Number.

However, these numbers tend to work as adjectives or pronouns in Spanish sentences, and therefore they need to match the gender and number of the thing they are connected to.

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

Examples:

 Singular MasculinePlural MasculineSingular FemininePlural Feminine
2ndsegundosegundossegundasegundas
17thdecimoséptimodecimoséptimosdecimoséptimadecimoséptimas
39thtrigésimo novenotrigésimos novenostrigésima novenatrigésimas novenas
225thducentésimo vigésimo quintoducentésimos vigésimos quintosducentésima vigésima quintaducentésimas vigésimas quintas

Example Sentences with Ordinal Numbers

Here are some example sentences. Notice how the ordinal number matches the gender and number of the thing it’s connected to:

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

Ellos han quedado séptimos en el concurso.
They have been 7th in the contest.

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

Chicas, sois las trigésimas octavas en quejaros por esto.
Girls, you are the 38th who have complained about this.

Short Forms “primer” and “tercer”

For any ordinal number that includes the forms “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 written right before “piso”, which is masculine singular)

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


Abbreviation of Ordinal Numbers

Just like in English we can right “1st” instead of “first” and “2nd” instead of “second”, there are abbreviations that we can use to write Spanish ordinal numbers.

The formulas to get the abbreviated forms are the following:

If the ordinal number is masculine ending in “o”, then FORMULA = numeral + “.” + superscript “o”

cuarto → 4.º

trigésimo noveno → 39.º

If the ordinal number is feminine ending in “a”, then FORMULA = numeral + “.” + superscript “a”

cuarta → 4.ª

trigésima novena → 39.ª

If the ordinal number ends in “er” (one of the short forms “primer”, “tercer”, etc) then FORMULA = numeral + “.” + superscript “er”

primer → 1.er

vigésimo tercer → 23.er

Practice Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

Quiz

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

Exercise

Fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using Ordinal Numbers. Then check the solutions at the end of this post.

a) ¡Es la ______ (5th) vez que me preguntas mi nombre!
b) Vivimos en la ______ (7th) planta.
c) México es el ______ (13th) país más extenso del mundo.
d) Enero es el ______ (1st) mes del año. Es el _____ (1st).
e) Hemos quedado los _______ (8th) en la competición por equipos.
f) ¡Felicidades por tu _______ (29th) medalla de oro!

Solutions to the Exercise: a) quinta, b) séptima, c) decimotercer, d) primer, primero, e) octavos, f) vigésimo novena