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First, second, third or 1, 2, 3?

One, two, etc. for counting. First, second, etc. for showing the order of something.

Several kittens are waiting to be fed. The first and second kittens are climbing up a woman’s leg to get to the food first.

There are four kittens. Who will be the first to be fed?

Normal numbers are 1, one, 2, two, 3, three, etc. These are also called cardinal numbers.
• I’d like three coffees, please.
• The Great Fire was about 400 years ago.

The next group of numbers are the ordinal numbers. We use these to show the order of something.
• She came second in the competition.
• The woman was in her sixth month of pregnancy.
• Today it is 26th February.

Remember: One counting. First order of something.
  • Exercise 1

    Remember: One cardinal. First ordinal.

    Decide whether the following are cardinal numbers or ordinal numbers.

    Remember: One cardinal. First ordinal.

    Decide whether the following are cardinal numbers or ordinal numbers.

    Exercise 2

    Remember: One cardinal. First ordinal.

    Decide whether the following are cardinal numbers or ordinal numbers.

    Remember: One cardinal. First ordinal.

    Decide whether the following are cardinal numbers or ordinal numbers.

  • Remember: One cardinal. First ordinal.

    Could you please tell me how to get to the 15th floor. I have a meeting with two people from the ninth floor.

     A warning notice which says that the ninth floor has been temporally moved to the fifteenth floor.

  • Remember: One counting. First order of something.

    One, two, etc. for counting. First, second, etc. for showing the order of something.

    There are two kittens. The first kitten is black and brown. The second kitten is grey and white. The second kitten is still asleep. The first kitten is now awake. Arrrh!