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I numeri ordinali – ordinal numbers (with a written practice)

Ordinal numbers

Do you know what il tredicesimo secolo means? Well, it means the thirteenth century. This covers the years starting in 1200 and ending in 1299. Knowing how to refer to the centuries (i secoli) is a pretty important thing, if you are going to read about Italian culture and history, don’t you think so?

To do so, you will have to learn ordinal numbers. These are numbers, such as first, second, and so on, that allow you to indicate position, order, sequence, and things like that. Here are the first ten.

1st primo
2nd secondo
3rd terzo
4th quarto
5th quinto
6th sesto
7th settimo
8th ottavo
9th nono
10th decimo

Note that these numbers are adjectives. You know what that means, don’t you? It means that yuo must change the ending according to the noun.

il primo studente the first student
la seconda persona the second person

Now, to form all other ordinal numbers all you have to do is to take the corresponding cardinal number (undici, dodici, and so on), dro the final vowel (undic-, dodic-, and so on) and simply add -esimo.

11th undicesimo
12th dodicesimo
214th duecento quattordicesimo
and so on

Are you familiar with Dante? Most Italians will tell you that il padre, the “father” of our language is Dante Alighieri, one of the supreme figures of world literature. Do you know in what century he wrote? It was in the 1300s, so he wrote in the quattordicesimo secolo. Another way we Italians refer to the century is to indicate the last three digits. In the case of the 1300s, the digits make up the number 300. So, that century is also called il Duecento (with a capital letter). This can be done from the 1200s right up to the twentieth century.

1200s il tredicesimo secolo il Duecento
1300s il quattordicesimo secolo il Trecento
1900s il ventesimo secolo il Novecento
2000s il ventunesimo secolo il Duemila

Achieve grammar mastery with this WRITTEN PRACTICE!

1. Click on the red link above (Google Documents will be opened).

2. Select FILE on the upper left side.

3. Select PRINT or SAVE.

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4 thoughts on “I numeri ordinali – ordinal numbers (with a written practice)

  1. “Are you familiar with Dante? Most Italians will tell you that il padre, the “father” of our language is Dante Alighieri, one of the supreme figures of world literature. Do you know in what century he wrote? It was in the 1300s, so he wrote in the quattordicesimo secolo. Another way we Italians refer to the century is to indicate the last three digits. In the case of the 1300s, the digits make up the number 300. So, that century is also called il Duecento (with a capital letter). This can be done from the 1200s right up to the twentieth century.” – allora, non sona sicura ma mi sembra che c´e un errore. 1300 – il Trecento cioe quattordicesimo secolo. oppure ho sbagliato???

  2. So, do the centuries before 1100 (il Uncento or dodicesimo secolo) only go by __ secolo? In other words, for example, the 800s can only go by novesimo secolo or can it also go by il Ottavo?

    1. The way of the last three digits (il Trecento, il Quattrocento, and so on) can be only done from the 1200s. So, we refer to 1100 as il dodicesimo secolo only. Pay attention to the Italian translation of the 1800s: we say il diciannovesimo secolo (not *novesimo) and l’Ottocento (not *il ottavo).

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