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Ordinal numbers with "di"

(Redirected from Ordinal numbers)
Also known as: 序数 (xùshù), ordinals and sequence numbers.
Chinese-grammar-wiki-di.jpg

We use ordinal numbers to express things like "number one" or "second," so mastering them in Chinese is important. Fortunately, they are also very easy to learn by just adding the prefix 第 (dì).

Basic Usage

In English, there are four different suffixes for ordinal numbers: -st, -nd, -rd and -th. Chinese makes things a lot simpler by using one prefix for all ordinal numbers: 第 (dì). This character is simply placed in front of the number:

Structure

第 + Number

Examples

ChineseEnglish
第 一
Dì yī
The first
第 二
Dì èr
The second
第 三
Dì sān
The third
第 四
Dì sì
The fourth
第 五
Dì wǔ
The fifth
第 六
Dì liù
The sixth
第 七
Dì qī
The seventh
第 八
Dì bā
The eighth
第 九
Dì jiǔ
The ninth
第 十
Dì shí
The tenth

Full Pattern

You can also add in a [measure word] (MW) and a [noun] to make the structure a bit fuller.

Structure

第 + Number (+ MW + Noun)

Examples

  • 我 是 第 四 人 。 Wǒ shì dì sì rén. I'm the fourth person.
  • 这 是 我 的 第 二 女儿 。 Zhè shì wǒ de dì èr nǚ’ér. This is my second daughter.
  • 小李 是 他 的 第 三 女朋友 。 Xiǎo Lǐ shì tā de dì sān nǚpéngyou. Little Li is his third girlfriend.
  • 这 是 我 今天 喝 的 第 八 啤酒 。 Zhè shì wǒ jīntiān hē de dì bā píng píjiǔ. This is the eighth bottle of beer I drank today.
  • 第 一 月 , 我们 去 中国 , 第 二 月 , 我们 要 去 泰国 。 Dì yī yuè, wǒmen qù Zhōngguó, dì èr yuè, wǒmen yào qù Tàiguó. The first month, we go to China, the second month, we go to Thailand.
  • 我 的 第 一 中文 老师 是 美国 人 。 Wǒ de dì yī Zhōngwén lǎoshī shì Měiguó rén. My first Chinese teacher was American.
  • 我 的 第 一 手机 是 NOKIA 。 Wǒ de dì yī shǒujī shì NOKIA. My first cellphone was NOKIA.
  • 我 的 第 一 工作 是 服务 员 。 Wǒ de dì yī gōngzuò shì fúwùyuán. My first job was a waiter.
  • 你 是 我 的 第 一 朋友 。 Nǐ shì wǒ de dì yī péngyou. You are my first (best) friend.
  • 我们 今天 学 第 三 课 。 Wǒmen jīntiān xué dì sān kè. Today we study the third lesson.
  • 这 是 我 第 一 说 中文 。 Zhè shì wǒ dì yī shuō Zhōngwén. This is my first time speaking Chinese.
  • 我 是 第 四Wǒ shì dì sì. I'm the fourth.
  • 这 次 考试 , 我 是 我们 班 第 一Zhè cì kǎoshì, wǒ shì wǒmen bān dì yī. This time testing, I was the first in our class. (Meaning: I was the best in class)
  • 我们 班 第 一 , 他们 班 第 二Wǒmen bān dì yī, tāmen bān dì èr. Our class is the first, their class is the second. (Meaning: We are the best, they are the second best)


Note that there are some words that don't use measure words because they themselves are already measure words. For example: 天 (tiān), 年 (nián), 周 (zhōu), 次 (cì) etc.

  • 第 一 , 我们 在 宾馆 里 。 Dì yī tiān, wǒmen zài bīnguǎn lǐ. On the first day, we will be in the hotel.
  • 第 二 , 我们 去 了 长城 。 Dì èr tiān, wǒmen qù le Chángchéng. On the second day, we went to the Great Wall.
  • 这 是 我 第 一 去 北京 。 Zhè shì wǒ dì yī qù Běijīng. This is my first time going to Beijing.

Exceptions

Note that some nouns can form ordinals without 第 (dì). With these, the number can be used directly. For example, 七楼 (qī lóu) is "the seventh floor," or 二姐 (Èr jiě) "the second oldest sister." A more complete list of these nouns can be found below.

ChineseEnglishExample

Lóu
Floor of a building七楼 (qī lóu)
Seventh floor

Céng
Floor of a building一层 (Yī céng)
First floor

Older brother二哥 (Èr gē)
Second oldest brother

Jiě
Older sister二姐 (Èr jiě)
Second oldest sister

Younger brother二弟 (Èr dì)
Second (younger) brother

Mèi
Younger sister二妹 (Èr mèi)
Second (younger) sister


See also

Sources and further reading