Ordinal Numbers explained in Simple Language with Examples

What are Ordinal Numbers?

In this blog, we explain the meaning and definition of ordinal numbers with simple examples, charts and posters, without the use of technical jargon.The examples, charts and posters are in English.

Ordinality and ordinal numbers are concepts related to the word ‘order’. A synonym of order is the word, ‘sequence’.

Ordinal Numbers: An Illustrative Example 1

Imagine that you have a collection of 5 balls, in no particular order.

Now arrange these 5 balls in any order of your choice.

Next give labels to signify the ‘position’ that each ball occupies in the sequence.

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Insight

Ordinal numbers can be thought of as labels that represent position.

Ordinal Numbers: Illustrative Example 2

In a car racing game, the cars are fighting to be on winners podium.

At the end of the race, the winners are decided basis how they finished.


Ordinal numbers are the labels used to signify the position on winner’s podium.


We hope that the above two illustrations helped you understand what ordinal numbers are. You can also download the above two illustrations, in pdf printable format, to help your kids learn ordinal numbers.

Click here to download high-quality printable Illustrative Example 1 in pdf format.

Click here to download high-quality printable Illustrative Example 2 in pdf format.

Below is the formal definition of Ordinal Numbers
Ordinal Numbers: Definition

Any finite collection of objects can be put in an order just by the process of counting: labelling the objects with distinct whole numbers. Ordinal numbers are thus the “labels” needed to arrange collections of objects in order.

Source: Wikipedia: Ordinal Numbers

So what are Cardinal Numbers and how are they different from Ordinal Numbers?

Cardinal numbers represent quantity, unlike ordinal numbers that represent the position. Quantity, as in, ‘five mangoes in a bag’. To know more about the differences between cardinal and ordinal numbers, please read this article.

1 to 20 Ordinal Numbers Chart (Poster) in English. Please feel free to download. It is a High-Quality Printable version.

Click here to download high-quality printable 1 to 20 Ordinal Numbers in English Chart (Poster) in pdf format.
1 to 20 Cardinal vs Ordinal Comparison Chart (Poster) in English. Please feel free to download. It is a High-Quality Printable version.

Click here to download high-quality printable 1 to 20 Cardinal vs Ordinal Comparison in English Chart (Poster)in pdf format.
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