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How do Germans write Ordinal numbers as in English?

1st, 2nd, 3rd ...

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2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

We suffix the numbers with a dot:

1., 2., 3., ...

This is also the reason we write dates as 19.8.2011 ("der neunzehnte achte zweitausendelf").

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Do you put the dot there even when it's succeeded by a comma? –  Tim N Aug 19 '11 at 16:04
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+1 for giving the reason for writing dates with dots. Never thought about that. @Tim N: Yes. –  OregonGhost Aug 19 '11 at 16:04
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@Tim N Without the dot it would be "eins zwei drei", so I'd rather leave out the comma. But normally this isn't an issue. –  starblue Aug 19 '11 at 16:12
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In a written text a number followed by a dot is fine for a date

Wir kommen am 7. September vorbei.

However in another context it may be better to write out the ordinal numbers with rules following those for numbers in general.

Wir haben die siebte Ausfahrt nicht gefunden und uns verirrt.
Der Urgoßvater lädt zum hundertsten Geburtstag ein.

In writing a number is usually suffixed by "-te" but there are exceptions:

  1. erste
  2. zweite
  3. dritte
  4. vierte
  5. fünfte
  6. sechste
  7. siebte (der siebente)
  8. achte
  9. neunte
  10. zehnte
  11. elfte
  12. zwölfte
  13. dreizehnte
    [...]
  14. zwanzigste
  15. dreißigste
    [...]
  16. [ein]hundertste
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