Forming ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 10th...)

Ordinal numbers describe an order/rank.

Here are the Spanish ordinal numbers from 1st to 10th. Some of them have the same form as their fraction equivalents.

  English Spanish

 1st

first  primero/-a
 2nd second  segundo/-a

3rd

third tercero/-a
4th fourth cuarto/-a
5th fifth quinto/-a
6th sixth

sexto/-a

7th seventh

séptimo/-a

8th eighth

octavo/-a

9th ninth

noveno/-a

10th tenth

décimo/-a

 Here are some examples:

Juan es el primero de su clase.
John is first in his class.

María es la primera mujer de Carlos.
María is Carlos's first wife.

Nosotros vivimos en la segunda planta.
We live on the second floor.

Esta es la tercera vez que te aviso.
This is the third time I'm warning you.

Quiero pasear por la Quinta Avenida de Nueva York.
I want to walk along Fifth Avenue in New York.

El sexto día, después de la operación, tuve una infección.
The sixth day after the operation, I got an infection.

El octavo chico de la fila es mi amigo Luis.
The eighth boy in the queue is my friend Luis.

Mis primeros días en el trabajo nuevo han sido estresantes.
My first days at my new job have been stressful.

Hemos quedado terceras en el concurso.
We came in third place in the competition.

Notice how in Spanish the ordinal number must agree in gender and number with the noun it is referring to. 

Very often ordinal numbers are accompanied by determiners such as articles (el, la, los...) or possessives (mi, nuestro...). Bear in mind that these must agree with the number and noun as well, e.g "la primera planta", "nuestro segundo nieto", etc.

 

First and third before masculine singular nouns

Note that primero (first) and tercero (third) have a shorter form when they are placed in front of a masculine singular noun.

Carlos no es mi primer marido. 
Carlos is not my first husband.

Este es su tercer año en la universidad.
This is his third year at the university.

Cardinal numbers = 1, 2, 3, etc.

Ordinal numbers = describe an order/rank = 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

Fractions = describe a part of a whole = half, third, fourth, etc.

See also Expressing fractions in Spanish and Using numbers + nouns

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

El sexto día, después de la operación, tuve una infección.
The sixth day after the operation, I got an infection.


Este es su tercer año en la universidad.
This is his third year at the university.


Nosotros vivimos en la segunda planta.
We live on the second floor.


Juan es el primero de su clase.
John is first in his class.


Carlos no es mi primer marido. 
Carlos is not my first husband.


María es la primera mujer de Carlos.
María is Carlos's first wife.


Hemos quedado terceras en el concurso.
We came in third place in the competition.


Esta es la tercera vez que te aviso.
This is the third time I'm warning you.


Mis primeros días en el trabajo nuevo han sido estresantes.
My first days at my new job have been stressful.


Quiero pasear por la Quinta Avenida de Nueva York.
I want to walk along Fifth Avenue in New York.


El octavo chico de la fila es mi amigo Luis.
The eighth boy in the queue is my friend Luis.


Q&A Forum 3 questions, 3 answers

EmanuelB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you. Is there any difference between piso and planta?

Asked 5 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

When we say planta in this context we refer to the "level", i.e. ground floor, first floor, second floor,...This would be in Spanish: "la planta baja", "la primera planta", "la segunda planta",...

When we say piso  we refer to the "flat". For example:

Vivo en el segundo piso. (I live in the second flat [i.e. the flat that is on the second floor])

If you say this, this generally implies that on each floor there is only one flat, so it'd be the same as saying that you live on the second floor or the flat which is on the second floor.

This is how we use the word piso in Spain. Bear in mind that in Latin America the word piso can also mean "the floor of your house", for example: "Necesito barrer el piso" (I need to sweep the floor.)

Saludos

Inma

Thank you. Is there any difference between piso and planta?

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JohnB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

un séptimo piso

Yes .. .I have the same question. John

Asked 6 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola John

You can say both in Spanish: "Vivo en UN séptimo piso" and "Vivo en EL séptimo piso".

You'd use "un" when you are talking more generally: "on a seventh floor" (in a block of flats) and you'd use "el" when you are being more specific; Imagine you are saying this to someone at  the street and you have the block of flats where you live in front of you. You'd say "Vivo en el séptimo piso" looking and pointing at the top of the building. 

"Vivo en la/una séptima planta" is also correct (but feminine in this case)

Saludos

un séptimo piso

Yes .. .I have the same question. John

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EmanuelB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

why is it un séptimo piso and not el septimo piso? Would it be different if the term planta was used instead?

Asked 6 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Emanuel

You can say both in Spanish: "Vivo en UN séptimo piso" and "Vivo en EL séptimo piso".

You´d use "un" when you are talking more generally: "on a seventh floor" (in a block of flats) and you´d use "el" when you are being more specific; Imagine you are saying this to someone at  the street and you have the block of flats where you live in front of you. You´d say "Vivo en el séptimo piso" looking and pointing at the top of the building. 

"Vivo en la/una séptima planta" is also correct (but feminine in this case)

Saludos

why is it un séptimo piso and not el septimo piso? Would it be different if the term planta was used instead?

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