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French Ordinal Numbers and Fractions

Nombres ordinaux et fractions


Ordinal numbers are used to express rank or position - in other words, ordinal numbers are used for ordering, as opposed to cardinal numbers which are used for counting. French ordinal numbers are often taught at the same time as fractions because, beginning with "fifth," French ordinal numbers and fractions are the same word.

Lesson | Quiz

Ordinal numbers   Fractions
first premier
1st 1er
second deuxième 2nd 2e   1/2, half un demi
third troisième 3rd 3e   1/3 un tiers
fourth quatrième 4th 4e   1/4 un quart
fifth cinquième 5th 5e   1/5 un cinquième
sixth sixième 6th 6e   1/6 un sixième
seventh  septième 7th 7e   1/7 un septième
eighth huitième 8th 8e   1/8 un huitième
ninth neuvième 9th 9e   1/9 un neuvième
tenth dixième 10th  10e   1/10 un dixième
  3/4 trois quarts
  2/5 deux cinquièmes
All ordinal numbers (except first) and most fractions are created from their corresponding cardinal number: 
cardinal number drop the final e (if any) add -ième
six six sixième
onze onz onzième
vingt et un vingt et un vingt et unième
"First" is the only ordinal number that doesn't follow the above rule: premier (masculine) and première (feminine). Note that twenty-first, thirty-first, etc. do follow it.
  • Watch out for the spelling changes in cinquième and neuvième
  • Ordinal numbers are not used to talk about dates in French, except for premier
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