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.
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).
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
- thirteenth: décimo + tercero = decimotercero
- fifteenth: décimo + quinto = decimoquinto
- seventeenth: décimo + séptimo = decimoséptimo
Note that the accent on décimo is removed in these ordinal numbers.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
For ordinal numbers between 101 and 999, write out each successive ordinal number as a separate word.
- four hundred eighty-second: cuadringentésimo + octogésimo + segundo = cuadringentésimo octogésimo segundo
- one hundred seventy-seventh: centésimo + septuagésimo séptimo = centésimo septuagésimo séptimo
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
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:
If cardinal and ordinal numbers appear together, the cardinal number goes before the ordinal number. For example: