Ordinal number (linguistics)

In linguistics, ordinal numbers are the words representing the rank of a number with respect to some order, in particular order or position (i.e. first, second, third, etc.). Its use may refer to size, importance, chronology, etc. In English, they are adjectives.

They are different from the cardinal numbers (one, two, three, etc.) referring to the quantity.

Ordinal numbers are alternatively written in English with numerals and letter suffixes: 1st, 2nd or 2d, 3rd or 3d, 4th, 11th, 21st, 101st, 477th, etc. In some countries, written dates omit the suffix, although it is nevertheless pronounced. For example: 4 July 1776 (pronounced "the fourth of July ... "); July 4, 1776, ("July fourth ..."). When written out in full with "of", however, the suffix is retained: the 4th of July. In other languages, different ordinal indicators are used to write ordinal numbers.

In American Sign Language, the ordinal numbers first through ninth are formed with handshapes similar to those for the corresponding cardinal numbers with the addition of a small twist of the wrist.[1]

See also