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Ordinal number

cardinal # ordinal #
onefirst: 1st
twosecond: 2nd
threethird: 3rd
fourfourth: 4th
fivefifth: 5th


First, an ordinal number, fits into the adjective position of standard noun phrase structure:

  • the first time, the first train, the first hour
  • every first week of the month, each first of the month, each first place trophy
  • all the first-timers, all first-time visitors


Though the word "firstly" exists, it is mostly used in more formal speech. Like fast, first can modify a verb or a verb phrase:

  • Shall we go?
  • I'd like to finish hanging <abbr title="internal argument of the verb 'hang'">the clothes</abbr> first.