For non-native English speakers, learning the language can be a challenging process. Aside from grammar rules, vocabulary and pronunciation, one of the things that can be confusing is the ordering of numbers, particularly when it comes to ordinal numbers. In English, the 2nd, 3rd, and beyond are expressed differently from regular numbers. This article will explore how to use these numbers properly and why they are important in the English language.

## What are Ordinal Numbers?

Ordinal numbers refer to numbers that indicate a position or order of things. They are used to describe the rank or order of people, objects, or things. In English, ordinal numbers are formed by adding a suffix to the cardinal number, except for the numbers 1, 2, and 3.

## 2nd and 3rd in English Language

The numbers 2nd and 3rd are special exceptions in English. Instead of adding a suffix to the cardinal number, they are written as 2nd and 3rd respectively. The reason for this is not entirely clear, but it is believed to be related to their frequent usage compared to other ordinal numbers.

For example, when counting in a race, the first person to cross the finish line is the winner, the second person is the runner-up, and the third is the second runner-up. In this case, the numbers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd are used. The same goes for other events, such as award ceremonies or academic rankings.

## Ordinal Numbers for 4th to 20th

For ordinal numbers from 4th to 20th, the suffix “th” is added to the cardinal number. For example, 4 is “four,” and “fourth” is the ordinal version. The same goes for 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th.

## Ordinal Numbers for 21st and Beyond

For ordinal numbers from 21st and beyond, the format is a bit different. The suffix “st,” “nd,” “rd,” or “th” is added to the end of the cardinal number depending on the last digit. If the last digit is 1, then “st” is used. If the last digit is 2, then “nd” is used. If the last digit is 3, then “rd” is used. For all other numbers, “th” is used.

For example, the ordinal number for 21 is “twenty-first,” the ordinal number for 22 is “twenty-second,” and the ordinal number for 23 is “twenty-third.” The ordinal number for 24 is “twenty-fourth,” the ordinal number for 25 is “twenty-fifth,” and so on.

## Common Mistakes in Using Ordinal Numbers

One common mistake in using ordinal numbers is forgetting to add the suffix “th” for numbers from 4 to 20. Another mistake is using the wrong suffix for numbers from 21 and beyond. It is important to pay attention to the last digit of the cardinal number to ensure that the correct suffix is used.

## Why are Ordinal Numbers Important in English?

Ordinal numbers are important in English because they are used in many situations, such as rankings, scores, and positions. They are also used in dates, such as “December 25th” or “January 1st.” Understanding how to use ordinal numbers properly is important for effective communication, especially in formal settings.

## Conclusion

Ordinal numbers play an important role in the English language, particularly when it comes to expressing rank or order. While the 2nd and 3rd are special exceptions, the suffix “th” is added to the cardinal number for numbers from 4 to 20, and the suffix “st,” “nd,” “rd,” or “th” is added for numbers from 21 and beyond. It is important to use ordinal numbers properly to avoid confusion and miscommunication in various situations.