Cardinal and ordinal numbers

Types of numbers

Numbers are divided into two categories. Cardinal numbers that we use to determine the amount and quantity of something. And ordinal numbers that we use to determine the order, the position, or the rank of something.

In this lesson you will learn how you can read and write cardinal and ordinal numbers from zero to billion.

Difference between ordinal and cardinal numbers

The main difference between them is that cardinal numbers are read as one, two, three and they written as 1, 2, 3. While ordinal number are read as the first, the second, the third and they written as 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

Cardinal numbers

To count perfectly in English, you shoud know how to count from 0 to 19 and the rest will be easy. Notice that numbers from 13 to 19 are same as numbers fro 3 to 9 with the suffix teen.

0 Zero
1 One
2 Two
3 Three
4 Four

5 Five
6 Six
7 Seven
8 Eight
9 Nine

10 Ten
11 Eleven
12 Twelve
13 Thirteen
14 Fourteen

15 Fifteen
16 Sixteen
17 Seventeen
18 Eighteen
19 Nineteen

The tens

Tens from twenty to ninenty are always end by ty.

20 Twenty
22 Twenty-two

30 Thirty
33 Thirty-three

40 Forty
44 Forty-four

50 Fifty
55 Fifty-five

60 Sixty
66 Sixty-six

70 Seventy
77 Seventy-seven

80 Eighty
88 Eighty-eight

90 Ninety
99 Ninety-nine

The hundreds

Hundreds are each number itself followed by the word hundred.

100 One hundred
200 Two hundred
300 Three hundred

400 Four hundred
500 Five hundred
600 Six hundred

700 Seven hundred
800 Eight hundred
900 Nine hundred

Big numbers

We write every number followed by its class like thousand, million and billion.

1000 One Thousand
3000 Three Thousand

1000000 One Million
5000000 Five Million

1000000000 One Billion
8000000000 Eight Billion

Ordinal numbers

To learn ordinal numbers, you should know first how to count form 1 to 19 and the rest will be repetitive. Ordinal numers are the same numbers ending by th except the numbers 1, 2 and 3.

1 First
2 Second
3 Third
4 Fourth
5 Fifth

6 Sixth
7 Seventh
8 Eighth
9 Ninth
10 Tenth

11 Eleventh
12 Twelfth
13 Thirteenth
14 Fourteenth
15 Fifteenth

16 Sixteenth
17 Seventeenth
18 Eighteenth
19 Nineteenth

Ordinal tens

Ordinal tens from 20 to 90, are the same numbers but the y letter at the end is transfotrmed into tieh if the position of ones is zero. If was not we write the tens, then the ones are written as ordinal.

20 Twentieth
22 Twenty-second
25 Twenty-fifth

30 Thirtieth
31 Thirty-first
34 Thirty-fourth

40 Fortieth
41 Forty-first
44 Forty-fourth

50 Fiftieth
53 Fifty-third
55 Fifty-fifth

60 Sixtieth
62 Sixty second
66 Sixty-sixth

70 Seventieth
71 Seventy-first
77 Seventy-seventh

80 Eightieth
83 Eighty-third
88 Eighty-eighth

90 Ninetieth
91 Ninety-first
99 Ninety-ninth

Ordinal Hundreds

Ordinal Hundreds are written as a normal number followed by the word hundredth.

100 hundredth
200 Two hundredth
300 Three hundredth

400 Four hundredth
500 Five hundredth
600 Six hundredth

700 Seven hundredth
800 Eight hundredth
900 Nine hundredth

Big Ordinal Numbers

We add th at the end to big classes like thousand, million and billion.

1000 Thousandth
3000 Three Thousandth

1000000 Millionth
5000000 Five Millionth

1000000000 Billionth
8000000000 Eight Billionth


We can use a short way to write ordinal numbers. Simply write the digit form of number with last two letters.

1 1st
2 2nd
3 3rd
4 4th
5 5th

6 6th
7 7th
8 8th
9 9th
10 10th

11 11th
12 12th
13 13th
14 14th
15 15th

16 16th
17 17th
18 18th
19 19th
20 20th

21 21st
22 22nd
23 23rd
24 24th
25 25th

30 30th
40 40th
55 55th
90 90th
99 99th

100 100th
101 101st
152 152nd
999 999th
1000 1000th

1001 1001st
1500 1500th
1000000 1000000th
1000001 1000001st
1500000 1500000th


Fraction is numerical value that is a part of a whole. We read the numerator (upper part) as a cardinal number and the denominator (lower part) as a ordinal number.

Here are some fractions:

1/2 Half or one half
1/3 One third

1/4 Quarter or one quarter
1/6 One sixth

We add an s to the lower number if the upper part was bigger than 1.

2/5 Two fifths
3/4 Three quarters

4/7 Four sevenths
7/8 Seven eighths

How to read numbers?

You should know that the way people read numbers is usually brief and we will mention them to you.

Years Numbers

Usually we group names of years into two sets of two digits.

Here are some examples:

1994 Nineteen ninety-four

2020 Twenty twenty

Units and Currencies

We read numbers that used to indicate currencies as usual. We add an s if the used number was bigger than 1.

Here are some examples:

$1 One dollar

$50 Fifty dollars

€30 Thirty euros

10m Ten meters

5L Five litters

20kg Twenty kilograms

Decimal Numbers

Decimal numbers are numbers that contain a decimal point.

Here are some examples:

$0.05 Five cents, or zero point zero five dollar

$9.99 Nine ninety-nine, or nine dollars and ninety-nine cents

€3.30 Three thirty, or three euros and thirty cents

Other ways to read numbers

If the decimal number starts by a zero, we should say point then the numbers after it.

Here are some examples:

0.05 Point zero five

0.75 Point seventy-five, or point seven five

Phone numbers

When reading phone numbers, we read the number 0 as the letter O.

0096170440102 o o nine six one seven o four four o one o two

We can use the words double and triple if numbers are repeated like the following.

004955507 double o four nine triple five o seven

Test yourself

Test 1 Test 2 Test 3


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