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Les nombres ordinaux

This video is part of our course beginners 1

The ordinal numbers

The rules

Ordinal numbers are formed by adding the suffix “-ième” at the end of most numbers. In English “ième” means “st, nd, rd, th.” If the number ends in a mute “e,” the “e” is dropped before adding the suffix.

Deux Deuxième. (2nd)

Trois Troisième. (3 rd)

Seize Seizième. (16 th)

Trente Trentième. (30 th)

Trente-quatre Trente-quatrième. (34th)

Cinquante Cinquantième (50 th)

“-ième” pronounce “yem”.

If the number ends with “s”, “ze” or “x” we pronounce a “z”.

Deuxième “duh-zee-yem”

The exceptions

Only the numbers listed below will not follow the rule.

Un Premier. (first)

Une Première. (first)

Cinq Cinquième. (add a “u”)

Neuf Neuvième. (“f” becomes a “v”)

“un” is the only number with a feminine version “une”. “Premier” is for masculine words and “première” for feminine words.

“Premier” and “première” are the ordinal numbers for 1. As a result, they can’t be used for 21st, 31st, 41st, 51st, 61st, and 81st. For these numbers, we will use “unième” instead of “premier.”

21st Vingt-et-unième

Ordinal numbers are not used for the date in French, they are used with things like floors or time (first, second …), as well as, for Paris arrondissements.

Collective numbers

The rules

To express an approximate quantity, the suffix “-aine” is added to the number. If the number ends in a mute “e,” the “e” is dropped before adding the suffix.
You can’t turn every single number into collective numbers following the rule above, only the ones listed below can be turned in collective numbers. .

10 Une dizaine.  (10 ish)

12 Une douzaine

15 Une quinzaine

20 Une vingtaine

30 Une trentaine

40 Une quarantaine

50 Une cinquantaine

60 Une soixantaine

100 Une centaine

“-aine” pronounce “enn”. Collective numbers are feminine and always preceded by “une”.

The exceptions

1,000 Un millier

1,000,000 Un million

1,000,000,000 Un milliard

If the number isn’t in the list above, simply add “environ” in front of the number to turn it into a collective number.

Environ 17 17 ish.

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