Ordinals 1 – 100

Appetizer 3-1 / ORDINAL NUMBERS / Days 1 & 2


  • To introduce the ordinal numbers from 1 to 100 (plus):  the symbols, pronunciation and spelling
  • To have the students be aware of how ordinal numbers are formed, including the exceptions
  • To increase the students’ confidence in their use of ordinals through exploration and practice



Intro to ordinals

Numbers from 1 to 100



Spelling & pronunciation


Future classes

Some ideas for further practice


Beginner to intermediate


25-30 minutes


  • Board, screen or flip chart
  • Handouts for class:
    HO1  worksheet on ordinals
    HO2  speaking practice reference
  • Audio option APPAUD9  1-10
  • Audio option APPAUD10  1-19
  • Audio option APPAUD11  cardinals + ordinals
  • Audio option APPAUD12  mid-numbers
  • Audio option APPAUD13  tens
  • Audio option APPAUD14  teens vs tens
  • Audio option APPAUD15  rows on handout


– Note 1
– Note 2


Class Plan


Go through and modify the steps presented below according to the level you are dealing with.  For absolute beginners, they will need more time and practice, so you may want to break up the handout and the presentation over several days, giving them more opportunity to become familiar with the numbers.  There are many students at the intermediate levels that are not entirely confident or clear in their use of ordinals, but need only a short time to become reacquainted with some of the details, and to intermittently practice the pronunciation in future classes.


Worksheet for students

A STEP 1      ORIENTATION        INTRODUCTION                                                 ORDINALS
a) Ask the students when they would use numbers in the ordinal form.

Elicit:  order of people completing a race, birthdays and other dates, anything to indicate order and position

b) Elicit what the top 3 positions are.  Show with one finger and say, “first” to start them off and try to get them to say, “second” and “third”.   (You can draw on the board 3 people standing on boxes like the people do winning the Olympic medals if you like visual prompts.)
c) Tell them that this part of the class is dedicated to learning the ordinal forms of numbers.
A STEP 2      1 – 19        INTRODUCTION                                                          ORDINALS
a) Give the students HO 1 (Handout #1) and tell them to look at the first section:  ‘1 – 19’.
b) If they are a low level, have them work in pairs as they write out the ordinal forms.  Intermediate levels could do it quickly individually.  If the students are absolute beginners, supply them with the answers as you write them on the board and have them pronounce the words.  They copy onto their handouts.
c) To make sure everyone has the same (and correct) answers, ask different students to tell you the answers by pronouncing the word and spelling the letters out.  You write the answers on the board as they do so.  Include the symbols next to the words (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.).
d) Point out that the ordinal is typically made by adding ‘th’ to the number, but first (not oneth), second (not twoth) and third (not threeth) are exceptions.
e) Elicit the other three exceptions.
●the ‘ve’ in five and twelve changes to ‘f’ with the addition of ‘th’    
fifth (not fiveth) & twelfth (not twelveth)
●the cardinal 9 changes to ‘ninth’, not ‘nineth’ as you would expect
‘eighth’ is not really an exception. It has the th at the end. Since the t is already there, you only need the ‘h’
f) Have the students repeat the numbers after you.  (There are some audio options if you prefer a different voice to yours.  Check out the following listenings.)
Choose APPAUD 9     if you are only introducing Ordinals 1 – 10
Choose APPAUD 10   for Ordinals 1 – 19
Choose APPAUD 11   to hear the cardinal first (“one”), then its ordinal form (“first”)   There is a slight pause between numbers so you could ask your students to say the ordinal form before hearing it.
g) Beginners can practice a little before proceeding.  Place them into pairs.  One student says the cardinal number (ex: “one”) and the other student says the ordinal form (“first”)


Students can listen to and repeat the ordinals from 1 to 10

1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10


Students can listen to and repeat the ordinals from 1 to 19

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19


Students can hear each cardinal number first, then the ordinal form

1  1st    2  2nd    3  3rd    4  4th    5  5th    6  6th    7  7th    8  8th    9  9th    10  10th    11  11th
12  12th    13  13th    14  14th    15  15th    16  16th    17  17th    18  18th    19  19th

A STEP 3      MID-NUMBERS        INTRODUCTION                                                 ORDINALS
a) Write on the board 21  22  23 … 29 and elicit how to say the ordinal forms.
b) Have them look at the example in the next section of the handout and elicit or point out that an ordinal is created only by the adding of the suffix, not by changing any other part.
‘twenty-first’ is correct  but ‘twentieth-first’, for example, is not.
c) Have the students write out the ordinal forms for the five remaining numbers, check the spelling and the pronunciation.  (Note:  write on the board ‘hyphen’ or ‘dash’ so they can refer to it while saying how to spell the ordinals.
d) -optional-  Have the students repeat the numbers in Listening APPAUD 12.


Students can listen to and repeat examples of mid-number ordinals

21   22   23   33   34   35   44   48   51   55   56   67   78   89   92   99

A STEP 4      TENS        INTRODUCTION                                                                    ORDINALS
a) This part needs some special attention, including for higher levels.  A number of students have some confusion in the spelling and especially in the pronunciation of these ordinals and with the ‘teens’ which will be explored more in the next step.
b) Write on the board ‘20’ and next to it at some distance or below it, ‘20th’.  You can also write their spelling using capital letters for the stressed syllable or bigger boxes as shown in this section of the handout.
c) Emphasize the stronger stress placed on the first syllable and have the students repeat both the cardinal and ordinal forms with that emphasis.
d) Elicit what the rules are for pronouncing and spelling these ordinal numbers.
Pronounce the first syllable strong and the other(s) less so, both for cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers.  (The ‘eth’ should never be pronounced as the strong or stressed syllable.)
The ‘ty’ changes to ‘ti’ when adding the ‘eth’ to create an ordinal number.
e) -optional-  Have the students repeat the numbers in Listening APPAUD 13.


Students can listen to and repeat the ordinals which are multiples of ten

10    20    30    40    50    60    70    80    90

A STEP 5      TEENS vs TENS        INTRODUCTION                                                  ORDINALS
a) Have the students look at the next section and the examples of 13 and 30.  Ask them to explain as much as they can about the pronunciation of these examples.
Encourage them to say or to notice that the teens are extended and there is no extra syllable.
The tens are spoken in a more abrupt form (quickly and not extended) and in the ordinal form, there is an extra spoken syllable.
b) Have the students repeat after you the pairs on the handout.  Another option is Listening APPAUD 14.


Students can listen to and repeat the ordinals from 1 to 19

13, 30    14, 40    15, 50    16, 60    17, 70    18, 80    19, 90

A STEP 6      FINAL CHECK        INTRODUCTION                                                   ORDINALS
a) Sometimes an unexpected number or detail can throw someone off a bit so this section has a few examples to address those potentially unclear areas.
b) Have the students write out the three numbers in ordinal form as is done in the example.

a) 987,305 = nine hundred and eighty-seven thousand three hundred and fifth
b) 2,000,002 = two million and second
c) 3,849 = three thousand eight hundred and forty-ninth

c) Remind the students that the ordinal is exactly the same as a cardinal except for the suffix (usually ‘th’)



Worksheet for students

B STEP 1      PRONUNCIATION        PRACTICE                                                      ORDINALS
a) Place students into pairs and refer them to the bottom section of HO #1.
b) -optional-  If the students are at a very low level or are having some difficulties with the pronunciation, you could play APPAUD 15 to show them how the numbers could be pronounced.  If the students have a fairly good idea and simply need to practice, don’t bother with the listening and have them speak as follows:
c) One student says all the numbers in the first row of the box on the left.  Then the second student says all the numbers in the second row and they continue to alternate until all the numbers in the box are spoken.  They do the same with the second box.
d) Monitor the pairs while they are speaking, helping them when necessary and if a few difficulties arise, make note of them and speak of them when everyone is finished in a brief feedback session.


Students listen to how the ordinals can be spoken

BOX 1  (do first) BOX 2  (after Box 1)
31    13    30    5    98    89 63    19    90    91     5     12
29      5    74   62   14    40 5      22    51    18    80    83
76    50    15    3    44      5 17    70    77     3     12    23
12    35     3   16    60    47 21     3     13    30    37    92
57    17    70  12     3     96 12    61    72    14    40    43
18    80    55   3     68    12 82    15    50    53    12    61
B STEP 2      PRONUNCIATION & SPELLING        PRACTICE                             ORDINALS
a) -optional-  If you’d like to have the students practice for a few minutes more, this is something extra you could do.  In the same pairs have one student say a cardinal number between one and one hundred and the other student has to say the ordinal form and spell it as well.  They take turns until you tell them to stop a short time later.



Speaking practice sheet

C STEP 1      FURTHER PRACTICE        FUTURE CLASSES                                  ORDINALS
a) On Handout #2 there are more numbers students can practice in pairs.  As before they can take turns saying one row out loud.
b) There is a second section where one student can point to a number (for example ‘5’ or ‘3’ on one line and ‘4’ on another to make up the number ‘34’) and the other student says it aloud.  Some students like this more because they can invent their own numbers and focus on the more difficult ones if they like.
c) Either approach takes only two or three minutes and works well as a warmer or something to do between other activities.  You could use it once in a while, just to make sure they maintain the facility of saying ordinals easily.
C STEP 2      APPLICATION        FUTURE CLASSES                                                ORDINALS
a) While less important for higher levels, many students can benefit from reading and hearing the use of ordinals in practice and authentic sources and from having to use them in their speaking and writing.  Here are some ideas to reinforce the understanding and use of ordinals:

●Use the Listening APPAUD 15 as a dictation, the 6 rows for BOX 1 for one activity and the 3 rows for BOX 2 for another activity if needed.
●Have the students find out the birthdays of the other students in their class, or if it’s a big class, divide them into more manageable groups.  To make it more challenging and interesting, you could ask them to remember the dates without writing them down.
●Ask the students to name the dates of important holidays of their country, month by month.
●Prepare (or have the students prepare) some important historical events for students to guess the appropriate dates.  To make it a little easier, it could be designed as a multiple choice quiz and students in teams could compete for points by guessing the correct dates.
●Ask the students if they know the important dates of the course they are taking with you (starting, final, holidays, exams, and anything else that could be relevant).

Handouts for APP 3-1    Ordinals

HO 1 Ordinals
Student worksheet

Part A

Part B

HO 1 Ordinals
Answer key

Part A

Part B

HO 2 Ordinals
Speaking practice

Used in part C

APP 3-1