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Ordinal numbers in german

We have already talked about numerals in German. The numeral answers the question “wie viel?” (how many?), and ordinal numbers answer the question “welche? welcher? welches?” (which? which? which?).

How to form ordinal numbers? Very simple.

We add the suffix -t- (siebte, elfte, fünfte, neunzehnte) to numbers up to 19, after 19 -st- (zwanzigste, vierundsechzigste).

Exceptions: 1 – erste (der erste Brief), 3 – dritte (die dritte Stunde), 8 – achte (die achte Klasse).

Please note that when forming the ordinal number, we consider only the last two digits: 819 – achthundertneunzehnte. Although this number is more than 19, but we added the suffix -t- to it, and not – st-, because we changed 19. We should also remember that, for example, the twenty-first is der einundzwanzigste, and not der erstundzwanzigste, as if we did not want to say this, drawing an analogy with the English language.

Ordinal numbers are often used to name dates. To indicate the date in German, the preposition am (+ Dativ) + ordinal number with the ending – Еn is used:

am fünften Mai – the fifth of May;
am dritten April – the third of April;
am elften Juli – the eleventh of July.

If the ordinal number is written in numbers, then with a dot at the end: 19. – neunzehnte, am 11. September – the eleventh of September.

As in Russian, ordinal numbers tend to be adjectives. As in Russian, the ending depends on the case and the kind of noun.

For example, the endings in the nominative case:

Mein erster Freund is my first friend;
Meine erste Freundin is my first friend;
Mein erstes Baden – my first swim.

The topic of the endings of adjectives and ordinal numbers will be discussed later.

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