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Ordinal vs Cardinal Numbers

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You may have heard your English teachers refer to two different kinds of numbers: cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers. If the difference is confusing for you, don’t worry! Continue reading below to learn when and how to use both types of numbers.

Cardinal Numbers
Cardinal numbers are primary numbers – that means that they show how many of something there are. These cannot be fractions or decimals, but have to be whole, counting numbers. These include one, two, three, four, five, six, etc.

Ex. Charlie has two (2) cats.

Ordinal Numbers
An ordinal number is used to show the order of something, or the place of that thing in a list. These include first (1st), second (2nd), third (3rd), fourth (4th), fifth (5th), sixth (6th), etc.

Ex. This is my second English class.

Hint: a good way to remember the difference is that cardinal is for counting and ordinal is for ordering.

Try it yourself! Test your skills with our lesson below, and don’t forget to share this lesson with you friends and leave us a comment telling us what you liked about it!

Choose which form of each number best fits the blank.

  • There are _____ apples.



  • Jonathan is _____ in line for the movie.



  • The dress is a size _____.



  • That is the _____ time I’ve left the country.