Ordinal numbers describe an order/rank. They are often used in Spanish to indicate the position of an event, a celebration or an anniversary within a series, i.e. ones that take place regularly (monthly, annually...).
To learn about Spanish ordinal numbers from 1st to 10th see Forming ordinal numbers in Spanish (1st, 2nd, 10th...)
Learn about Spanish ordinal numbers (11th to 100th)
Here is a table of representative Spanish ordinal numbers from 11th to 100th.
|eleventh||undécimo / décimo primero / decimoprimero|
|12th||twelfth||duodécimo / décimo segundo / decimosegundo|
|thirteenth||décimo tercero / decimotercero|
|14th||fourteenth||décimo cuarto / decimocuarto|
|15th||fifthteenth||décimo quinto / decimoquinto|
décimo sexto / decimosexto
décimo séptimo / decimoséptimo
décimo octavo / decimoctavo
décimo noveno / decimonoveno
vigésimo primero / vigesimoprimero
vigésimo segundo / vigesimosegundo
vigésimo tercero / vigesimotercero
Agreement in Spanish ordinal numbers
Ordinal number are adjectives and as such, they must agree in gender and number with the noun they accompany (-o, -a, -os, -as): vigésimo aniversario, vigésima edición, vigésimos aniversarios, vigésimas ediciones
When the ordinal number is a compound one (two words) both numbers must agree in gender with the noun:
el décimo sexto concurso
la décima sexta conferencia
When the ordinal number is a simple one (one word only) then the agreement shows in the last letter only:
el decimosexto concurso
la decimosexta conferencia; not la decimasexta edición
Extra name for 11th and 12th
For 11th and 12th there is an extra name: undécimo and duodécimo.
Written accent loss in Spanish ordinal numbers
When the single word ordinal is used, e.g. decimoprimero, vigesimosexta, vigesimocuarta..., the written accent from the first ordinal number is lost: décimoprimero
Only one single word from 30th
For the first two tens of the ordinal numbers (tens and twenties) the simple and compound spelling are permitted (décimo cuarto or decimocuarto, for example) but from 30th only the compound form (two separate numbers) is permitted:
General loss of "o" for octavo
When using an ordinal number involving "octavo", and it's written in one word, this is the recommended spelling is to use only one "o" at the point where the the compound word joins e.g. decimoctavo, vigesimoctavo, thus avoiding the repetition of the letter "o" (decimooctavo, vigesimooctavo).
Shorter forms of 1st and 3rd
The shorter forms of 1st and 3rd (primer, tercer) need to be used as usual, for example: el vigesimoprimer aniversario, el decimotercer concurso. See Primero and tercero become primer and tercer before a noun (Spanish apócope)
Ordinal numbers abbreviations in Spanish: la letra volada
The same way in English the ordinal numbers are marked with st, nd, rd or th after the number, in Spanish we use superscript called "letra volada" that we place after the digit. We use º with a masculine noun, and we use ª with a feminine noun, and er for 1er and 3er (primer / tercer).
It's also necessary to use a full stop/period between the number and the "letra volada":
Roman numerals used and read as ordinal numbers
Sometimes Roman numerals are also used to talk about certain events. In this case, the Roman numeral is placed before the noun and it's read as an ordinal number. For example:
Careful! Not all Roman numerals are used and read the same way. See also How to express centuries in Spanish with Roman numerals and more information about Roman numerals here in How to use Roman numerals in Spanish
The good news is that it's also equally correct to use the cardinal number in front of the events, celebrations, anniversarys, and you write and read them as a cardinal number.
For example you can also write and say:
See also Expressing fractions in Spanish and Using numbers with nouns in Spanish
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