Ordinal numbers in Arabic

Let’s explore ordinal numbers in Arabic. These numbers indicate the order or position of something (e.g., first, second, third). In Arabic, ordinal numbers follow specific patterns and agree with the gender and case of the noun they modify.

1. Units (1 to 10)

  • 1st: أَوَّل (awwal)
  • 2nd to 10th: Built on the active participle pattern فاعِل (fa’il):
    • 2nd: ثانٍ (thānin)
    • 3rd: ثَالِث (thālith)
    • 4th: رابِع (rābi’)
    • 5th: خامِس (khāmis)
    • 6th: سادِس (sādis)
    • 7th: سابِع (sābi’)
    • 8th: ثَامِن (thāmin)
    • 9th: تاسِع (tāsi’)
    • 10th: عاشِر (‘āshir)


  • “The 3rd world”: العالَمُ الثالِثُ (al-ʿālamu al-thālithu)
  • “I study for the 5th year”: أَدْرُسُ لِلسَنةِ الخامِسةِ (adrusu lil-sanati al-khāmisati)

2. 11 to 19

  • These numbers are indeclinable and end with a fatḥa.
  • Only the first word has the definite article to make them definite:
    • 11th: الحاديَ عَشَرَ (al-ḥādiya ʿashara)
    • 12th to 19th: Composed of the same ordinals used in the units followed by عَشَرَ (ʿashara).


  • “He’s my 13th son”: هو اِبْني الثالِثَ عَشَرَ (huwa ibnī al-thālitha ʿashara)
  • “She’s my 17th daughter”: هي اِبْنَتِي السابِعةَ عَشَرَ (hiya ibnatī al-sābiʿata ʿashara)

3. Tens (20 to 90)

  • Ordinals for tens from 20 to 90 are the same as cardinals, but with the definite article before them.
  • They agree in noun case (إِعْراب) with the noun they qualify (never in gender).


  • “The 30th year”: السنةُ الثلاثُونَ (al-sanatu al-thalāthūna)

Watch a lesson on Ordinal numbers in Arabic

Remember to practice these ordinal numbers regularly to improve your Arabic skills! 🌟🗣️