Grammar Guide
Numbers
Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

Quick Answer

An ordinal number (número ordinal), as the name suggests, is a number that indicates the order of a noun that forms part of a series.

Just like cardinal numbers, ordinal numbers are adjectives. But, unlike Spanish cardinal numbers, Spanish ordinal numbers actually do match the nouns they modify in both gender and number. Additionally, ordinal numbers usually come before nouns.

Check out these examples showing Spanish ordinal numbers in use.

Es el segundo carro que he comprado.
It is the second car that I have bought.
Los primeros días de nuestras vacaciones fueron fantásticos.
The first days of our vacation were fantastic.
Mira la octava página.
Look at the eighth page.
Fuimos las primeras personas invitadas a la fiesta.
We were the first people invited to the party.

Ordinal Numbers: Primero to Décimo

The ordinal numbers from primero to décimo should be memorized, as they have unique forms and are used to form most of the other ordinal numbers in Spanish.

Here are a list of the ordinal numbers in Spanish from primero (first) to décimo (tenth).

EnglishSpanish
first
primero
second
segundo
third
tercero
fourth
cuarto
fifth
quinto
sixth
sexto
seventh
séptimo
eighth
octavo
ninth
noveno
tenth
décimo

When they come before nouns that are singular and masculine, primero and tercero are shortened to primer and tercer, respectively.

For example

el primer presidente (the first president)

el tercer capítulo (the third chapter)

Ordinal Numbers: Decimoprimero to Decimonoveno

The teen ordinal numbers are normally written as a single word, and they are formed according to the following formula.

décimo + ordinal number between primero and noveno

For example:

  • thirteenth: décimo + tercero = decimotercero
  • fifteenth: décimo + quinto = decimoquinto
  • seventeenth: décimo + séptimo = decimoséptimo

Note that the accent on décimo is removed in these ordinal numbers.

Here are a list of the ordinal numbers in Spanish from decimoprimero (eleventh) to decimonoveno (nineteenth).

EnglishSpanish
eleventhdecimoprimero or undécimo
twelfthdecimosegundo or duodécimo
thirteenth
decimotercero
fourteenth
decimocuarto
fifteenth
decimoquinto
sixteenth
decimosexto
seventeenth
decimoséptimo
eighteenth
decimoctavo
nineteenth
decimonoveno

Notice that decimoctavo does not follow the above pattern exactly. The o is removed from décimo before adding octavo so that you don’t end up with one o right after another.

Spelling Variations

According to the RAE, it is also acceptable to write the ordinal numbers from decimoprimero to decimonoveno as two separate words.

For example:

  • thirteenth = décimo tercero
  • fifteenth = décimo quinto
  • seventeenth = décimo séptimo

When written as two separate words, both words must agree in gender with any noun they modify. When written as a single word, only the final word in these compounds agrees in gender with the noun.

la decimoprimera página
the eleventh page
la décima primera página
the eleventh page

Ordinal Numbers Divisible by Ten

Here are a list of the ordinal numbers divisible by 10 that fall between vigésimo (twentieth) and nonagésimo (ninetieth). These are used as the base from which to form all the ordinal numbers between twentieth and ninety-ninth.

twentieth
vigésimo
thirtieth
trigésimo
fortieth
cuadragésimo
fiftieth
quincuagésimo
sixtieth
sexagésimo
seventieth
septuagésimo
eightieth
octogésimo
ninetieth
nonagésimo

Using the formula below, forming the ordinal numbers between twentieth and ninety-ninth is quite easy.

base number (divisible by 10) + ordinal number between primero and noveno

For example:

  • twenty-first: vigésimo + primero = vigésimo primero
  • thirty-sixth: trigésimo + sexto = trigésimo sexto
  • ninety-ninth: nonagésimo + noveno = nonagésimo noveno

Ordinal Numbers Above 100

Below are the ordinal numbers divisible by 100 that fall between centésimo and milésimo.

hundredth
centésimo
two hundredth
ducentésimo
three hundredth
tricentésimo
four hundredth
cuadringentésimo
five hundredth
quingentésimo
six hundredth
sexcentésimo
seven hundredth
septingentésimo
eight hundredth
octingentésimo
nine hundredth
noningentésimo
thousandth
milésimo

For ordinal numbers between 101 and 999, write out each successive ordinal number as a separate word.

For example:

  • four hundred eighty-second: cuadringentésimo + octogésimo + segundo = cuadringentésimo octogésimo segundo
  • one hundred seventy-seventh: centésimo + septuagésimo séptimo = centésimo septuagésimo séptimo

Abbreviations

Just like in English, Spanish ordinal numbers are often written in an abbreviated form. To abbreviate Spanish ordinal numbers, you can follow the formulas below.

  • For masculine ordinal numbers*: numeral + . + superscript o

    • *For primer and all numbers ending in primer = numeral + . + superscript er
    • *For tercer and all numbers ending in tercer = numeral + . + superscript er
  • For feminine ordinal numbers: numeral + . + superscript a

1.º
1st
10.ª página
10th page

Placement

In Spanish, ordinal numbers usually go before the nouns they modify. However, if the noun is a member of the royalty, a pope, or a street name, you may see the ordinal adjective come after. For example:

Carlos Quinto
Carlos the Fifth

If cardinal and ordinal numbers appear together, the cardinal number goes before the ordinal number. For example:

Me encantan las dos primeras escenas.
I love the first two scenes.
Estuve enferma los tres primeros días.
I was sick the first three days.

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