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Leçons Espagnol


Lessons for topic Numbers

Primero, Segundo and Tercero: Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

Let’s talk about numbers today. Ordinal numbers such as "first," "second," and "third," express position, order or succession in a series. Let's take a look at some of the rules that you need to keep in mind when using ordinal numbers in Spanish.


The first ten ordinals are very often used in spoken Spanish so let’s take a moment to review them: Primero (first), segundo (second), tercero (third), cuarto (fourth), quinto(fifth), sexto (sixth),

séptimo (seventh), octavo (eighth), noveno (ninth) and décimo (tenth).
Generally speaking, the ordinal numbers in Spanish go before the noun and agree in gender and number with the noun they are describing:

Las primeras imágenes que veo son impactantes, la verdad,

The first images that I see are shocking, truthfully,

Caption 34, Iker Casillas - apoya el trabajo de Plan

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A very important rule regarding the ordinals primero (first) and tercero (third) is that they drop the final ‘o’ before a masculine noun:


Y por ejemplo este nuevo disco es vuestro tercer disco creo... tercero o cuarto.

And for example this new record is your third record I believe... Third or fourth.

Caption 65, Bajofondo Tango Club - Mar Dulce - Part 1

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Ordinal numbers can be simple or compound. Simple ordinals have their own form while compound ordinals are made by joining simple numbers. The ordinal numbers “eleventh” and “twelfth” are unique in Spanish because they can have both simple and compound forms. For example, we could write the ordinal “twelfth” as a simple number (duodécimo) or as a compound one (décimo segundo):

En el dos mil diecisiete, El Real Madrid ganó su décima segunda '"Champions".

In two thousand seventeen, Real Madrid won its twelfth championship.

Caption 39, Carlos explica - Los Números: Números Ordinales

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Also, let’s remember that we use ordinal numbers for sovereign figures like kings, queens and popes. In this case, the ordinals are placed after the noun they describe:

Fuimos a la beatificación del Papa Juan Pablo Segundo.

We went to the beatification of Pope John Paul the Second.

Caption 9, Latinos por el mundo - Chilenas en Venecia

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That's it for now. Remember to memorize and practice the first 10 ordinals as they are commonly used in everyday language! And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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Los números del 1 al 100

Our friends at El Aula Azul provided us with a video covering the basic numbers in Spanish. Learning the numbers from 1 to 100 in Spanish is a very straightforward task and you don't really need to memorize every digit from 1-100. However there are a couple of things to have in mind.

From 1 to 10

Ok, these you do need to memorize: uno (1), dos (2), tres (3), cuatro (4), cinco (5), seis (6), siete (7), ocho (8), nueve (9), and diez (10). We suggest you to practice them by saying them aloud a couple of times.

From 11 to 29

The numbers 11-29 also require some memorization, specially from 11 to 20. You will have to memorize once (11), doce (12), trece (13), catorce (14), and quince (15). After that you will notice there is a basic pattern to form the following numbers: you only need to take diez (10) or veinte (20) and follow them by the name of the corresponding digit to form the number you want. If 10 is diez and 6 is seis 16 must be "diez y seis," and if 20 is veinte and 4 is cuatro 24 must be "veinte y cuatro," right? Well, almost! There is a tiny trick to learn in order to spell correctly the numbers 16 through 19 and 21 through 29. Those numbers used to be spelled as two words in the past, but nowadays a modern spelling is preferred: 16 is "dieciséis," 19 is "diecinueve," 29 is "veintinueve," and so on. But wait, there's also a pattern here!: numbers 16-19 will use the prefix dieci (not "diez") followed by 6-9, and numbers 21-29 will use "veinti" (not "veinte") followed by the numbers 1-9. Voilá: 16 is dieciséis and 24 is veinticuatro.


From 30 to 100

The good news is that after treinta (30) the old spelling comes back and you can again use the basic pattern learned before: 31 is "treinta y uno," 48 is "cuarenta y ocho," etc. The only thing you need to memorize now are the numbers corresponding to las decenas (the multiples of ten). That is: veinte (20), treinta (30), cuarenta (40), cincuenta (50), sesenta (60), setenta (70), ochenta (80), noventa (90) and cien (100). You can use the pattern to figure out any other number between them: cuarenta y uno (41), sesenta y dos (62), ochenta y ocho (88), noventa y cuatro (94), etc.

Enjoy learning the numbers in Spanish!


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