Ordinal, Cardinal, and Nominal
We use English numbers to...
count people or things
put things in order
identify people or things
Chart of Ordinal &
Types of numbers
There are three common types of English numbers:
cardinal (showing quantity)
Cardinal numbers are also known as "counting
numbers" and are used to count things. Cardinal
numbers tell us "how many."
We have two dogs.
I have $15.00.
There are 12 birds.
He is six years old today.
Children are first introduced to cardinal numbers when
they begin counting objects.
Cardinal numbers are numbers
that tell you "how many."
They express an amount.
We use cardinal numbers to
count people or things. They
indicate a quantity of people
Cardinal numbers are whole numbers. They do not
contain fractions or decimals.
I bought two bananas at the store.
ordinal (showing order)
Ordinal numbers are used to tell the order of things.
They tell us level or position in a group.
I am third in line.
That was your fifth cookie!
Happy 50th birthday!
First, combine eggs, sugar, flour, and salt.
He finished first in the race!
Ordinal Numbers – Position
Ordinal numbers are numbers that tell you the
position of someone or something in a group or list.
Ordinal numbers tell order.
Except for first (1st), second (2nd), and third
(3rd), most ordinal numbers end in the letters "th."
We can use ordinal numbers to tell the order people
finish in a race or the order they are standing in line.
Nick finished the race in first place!
Nick's sister was tenth.
Ordinal numbers are also used in recipes and
instructions. They tell you the order of steps.
First, mix flour, sugar, and milk.
Second, add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers
We can use cardinal and ordinal numbers together in
the same sentence.
Here's an example:
Tom's car finished 2nd in a race of three cars.
In this sentence, we have used a cardinal and an
Cardinal numbers are used for counting. Cardinal
numbers tell us "how many."
In the above example, three (3) is the cardinal number. It
tells us how many cars were in the race. There were three
cars in the race.
Ordinal numbers are used for putting thing in order.
The ordinal number tells the position of Tom's car in
In the above example, second (2nd) is the ordinal number.
Tom placed second in the race. His car was the second car
to cross the finish line. One car crossed the finish line
before his car, and one car crossed the finish line after his
nominal (showing identity)
Nominal numbers are used to name and identify things.
Nominal numbers can be single or grouped numbers.
Nominal numbers include:
social security numbers
bank account numbers
driver's license numbers
employee and student
(Las Vegas, NV 89101)
numbers of a train or bus route
(Take route 105 to get to the grocery store.)
(Number 40 has the ball!)
Cardinal and Ordinal English numbers can be used
as determiners to help identify nouns. They tell
(determine) how much or which one.
Examples of numbers as determiners:
We invited fifty people to our wedding.
Jenny got first place at the art contest.
Add 1 egg to the cookie batter.
Rules for writing numbers
Do you spell out a number or use its numeral form?
Here are some general rules to help you.
1. When to spell out numbers
A) Spell out numbers less than 10.
B) Don't begin a sentence with a numeral. Spell it out.
Incorrect: 15 children were at the concert.
Correct: Fifteen children were at the concert.
C) Spell out numbers in most formal writing.
D) Spell out numbers when writing time with "o'clock."
Incorrect: School starts at 8 o'clock each day.
Correct: School starts at eight o'clock each day.
2. When to use numerals in writing
A) Use numerals with a set of numbers or nominal
Players 10, 15, and 45 have fouled out of the game.
My city's zip code is 89520.
B) Use numerals with fractions and percents in
tables, mathematics, and science.
*We usually spell out "percent" in formal writing.
Go to percent rules
C) Use numerals for measurements.
The tree is 10 feet 6 inches tall.
The tree is 10' 6" tall.
D) Use numeral for recipes.
2 cups water
4 tablespoons sugar
F) Use numerals with time written with a.m. and p.m.
School starts at 8:00 a.m.
The bus will arrive at 9:10 p.m.
G) Internet, newspaper, and magazine headlines and
articles usually use numerals.
Numbers stand out in writing if they are written as numerals.
Correct: The club raised $100 for charity!
Incorrect: The club raised one-hundred dollars for charity!
Newspapers and magazines usually use numerals to save
space and to allow readers to easily scan for facts.
Rules and Examples
The percent sign ( % ) is a symbol used in the English language
as an abbreviation for the word "percent."
Percent is a mathematical term meaning one part of a hundred.
25 out of 100 equals 25%
50 out of 100 equals 50%
75 out of 100 equals 75 %
100 out of 100 equals 100%
The percent sign is mostly
used in informal
writing, advertisements or
tables in research papers.
magazines might also use
the percent sign to save
On the keyboard
The percent sign ( % ) is made on most American keyboards by
holding the SHIFT key and pressing the number 5 on the top
The percent sign can also be made by choosing INSERT
SYMBOL and selecting the % sign.
Rules for using the percent sign
1. In most writing, we use the percent sign ( % ) if a number is
written as a numeral.
A) In formal writing, numbers above nine are usually
written as numerals.
B) All numbers in charts, mathematics, science and technical
documents are usually written as numerals.
25% of the children were male.
5% + 5% = 10%
Almost 75% of all American college students have
student loan debt.
2. Use the word "percent" after numbers that are
written as words.
In most writing, numbers below 10 are usually written out
Correct: nine percent
Incorrect: 9 percent
Correct: six percent
Incorrect: six %
3. In titles and headings, we usually write percent as
The numbers before the percent follow the same rules as
above, unless they begin a sentence.
A) Numbers below ten are written as words.
Among adults with strong literacy
skills, only four percent live in poverty.
If a child reads as much as one million
words per year, they will be in top two
percent of all children on standardized
B) Numbers ten and above are usually written as numerals.
Over 50 percent of NASA employees are dyslexic.
More than 20 percent of adults read at or below a
Only about 15 percent of African American student
entering high school are proficient in reading.
C) If you begin a sentence with a number, the number and
percent are usually written as words.
Fourteen percent of all individuals have a learning
Fifteen percent of all 4th graders read no faster than
74 words per minute.
4. Newspapers and magazines usually use numerals
and the percent sign to save space.
Among adults at the lowest level of
literacy proficiency, 43% live in
Only 31% of college graduates have
high-level literacy skills.
47% of students who took the ACT’s
in 2009 did not meet the ACT
College Readiness for the Reading
section of the ACT Benchmark.
5. The percent sign is also used in advertisements to
These were the uses of the percent sign.