Ordinal numbers describe an order/rank.
Learn about Spanish ordinal numbers
Here are the Spanish ordinal numbers from 1st to 10th. Some of them have the same form as their fraction equivalents.
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 with nouns in Spanish
Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident?
We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your
gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »