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

Beware not to mix up ordinal numbers (to describe an order/rank: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, ...) and fractions (to describe a part of a whole: half, third, fourth...).
For fractions, see Expressing fractions - general (numbers).


Look at these ordinal numbers:

English  French Long-hand
1st 1er / 1re premier (masc), première (fem)
2nd 2e / 2/ 2de deuxième /
second
(masc)seconde (fem)
3rd 3e troisième
4th 4e quatrième
 9th 9e neuvième

Note that apart from premier/première, and second/e, ordinal numbers are formed as follows:

Cardinal number + -ième at the end
(stripping off any mute -e if there is one first)

ATTENTION:
The -f of neuf becomes a -v  in neuvièmesimply to ease the pronunciation.

Now listen to these examples:

Je préfère la première robe.
I prefer the first dress.

Il a fini le troisième exercice.
He finished the third exercise.

Je suis arrivé sixième au marathon.
I came sixth at the marathon.

J'ai réussi la neuvième fois.
I managed the ninth time.

 

When to use deuxième vs second/e ?

On aime la deuxième chanson de l'album.
We like the second song of the album.

Il y avait deux gâteaux sur la table: j'en ai mangé un, tu as mangé le second.
There were two cakes on the table: I ate one, you ate the second one.

- Use deuxième if there are more than two things,
- Use second/e if there are only two options.

 

Cardinal numbers = 1,2,3 etc.
Ordinal numbers = 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.

 

Examples and resources

Je suis arrivé sixième au marathon.
I came sixth at the marathon.



On aime la deuxième chanson de l'album.
We like the second song of the album.


Il y avait deux gâteaux sur la table: j'en ai mangé un, tu as mangé le second.
There were two cakes on the table: I ate one, you ate the second one.


Il a fini le troisième exercice.
He finished the third exercise.


J'ai réussi la neuvième fois.
I managed the ninth time.


Je préfère la première robe.
I prefer the first dress.


Q&A

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 December 2016

1 reply

Joakim asked : why one says "tiers monde" rather than "troisième monde" ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 December 2016

22/12/16

Bonjour Joakim !

​The expression "le Tiers Monde" to say "the Third World" is fixed as it is in English: this is the only way to say this in French.
​"Le Troisième Monde" would feel like there are more than one world, i.e. one planet, when here it's more of a division of the world into three "parts", hence the use of the fraction here.

À bientôt !

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