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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > "the" before ordinal numbers    

"the" before ordinal numbers


"the" before ordinal numbers
Hi everyone! I would like to ask you when we are expected to write "the" before the ordinal number. Thank you!

25 Sep 2013      

[email protected]

As far as I know, there are no times when you would not use "the" with ordinal numbers, at least grammatically speaking. I may be mistaken but I think... as any ordinal number shows something that is unique, we would use the "unique THE" (there is only one of it). Take the 4th turning on the left" and not "Take a 4th turning on the left" etc. However, if we do not use a noun following it, but it follows a verb... we can say e.g. "He came 5th" (in the race), or "I was born first". I am sure there are other circumstances in which the rule might change, but I hope this helps for a start (and I hope I am not in error).

25 Sep 2013     

United States

Not entirely correct, Matthew. I immediately thought of "Would you like a second piece of pie?". That īs the only exception that comes to mind, though.

26 Sep 2013     


After having killed two bystanders, a third innocent person was shot.

The rules for using THE before an ordinal number are the same as the rules for using definite articles in general (when you know what you are referring to, when there is only one, etc.).

26 Sep 2013     


This link might help:

26 Sep 2013