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Nombres ordinaux (ordinal numbers)

January 19, 2012

Cardinal numbers (“nombres cardinaux” : 1, 2, 3… un, deux, trois… one, two, three…) are used to tell a quantity. Ordinal numbers (“nombres ordinaux” : 1er, 2e, 3e… premier, deuxième, troisième… first, second, third…) are used to tell the position or rank in a serial.

Premier (m), première (f)


Second (m), seconde (f) / deuxième


Troisième (mf)


Quatrième (mf)


Cinquième (mf)


Vingt-et-unième (mf)


Other ordinal numbers are formed by simply adding -ième to the corresponding cardinal number.

In French, ordinal numbers work as adjectives. It means that they agree in number and gender with the noun they go with.

  • Il va sûrement gagner le premier prix. He is certainly going to win the first prize.
  • Tournez dans la première rue à gauche. Turn in the first street on the left.
  • Tu vas avoir les premiers résultats bientôt ? Are you going to get the first results soon ?

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