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Ordinal Numbers

Read through the following example to understand what ‘Ordinal Numbers’ are.

“At the Summer Athletic Carnival, Polly, Benny and Leo finished the 100m running event faster than the others. Polly ran faster than Benny and Leo and won the race. Benny reached the finishing point after Polly. Next came Leo after Benny.”

This is how you’ll have to explain the winners of a competition, if you do not know the numbers that tell the position of something. It is so not easy to tell the positions of something in this way. But, in math, we have a solution for this. It is the Ordinal Numbers. Hmm……….. sounds a little odd, right?

Flashback to Cardinal Numbers

Read the following numbers. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ……….. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten …………How easy it is!! These numbers are normal numbers that we all know, and we love them a lot. We call them Cardinal Numbers. They usually say how many of something are there.

How many circles are there? 5 circles

So, it’s very simple. Now answer the next question.

Back to Ordinal Numbers

What is the position of the red circle?

Is the answer is 1. No, not at all.

Now…, here comes the ordinal numbers to help us!

What is the position of the red circle? It is first (1st)

Yes it is. That’s the way, we tell the position of something.

First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth ………………

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th …………

What is the position of the yellow circle? It is second (2nd)

What is the position of the green circle? It is third (3rd)

What is the position of the blue circle? It is fourth (4th)

What is the position of the purple circle? It is fifth (5th)

So, these are what we call Ordinal Numbers. They help us to tell the position of something in an order.

Now you can easily tell the positions of the winners of the Summer Athletic Carnival.

Polly is the first. Benny is the second and Leo is the third.

Well done Ordinal Numbers!!!

Have a look at the Cardinal Numbers and Ordinal numbers chart given below to know the difference.

Cardinal & Ordinal Numbers Chart