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Cardinal Numbers in Spanish


Cardinal numbers (cardinales) are the numbers used for counting; of course they look the same in Spanish as well as in English:


Spanish Numbers

0 cero
1 uno/a
2 dos
3 tres
4 cuatro
5 cinco
6 seis
7 siete
8 ocho
9 nueve

10 diez
11 once
12 doce
13 trece
14 catorce
15 quince
16 dieciséis
17 diecisiete
18 dieciocho
19 diecinueve


In Spanish uno becomes un when used in front of a masculine noun: un perro, veintiún perros. To refer to a feminine noun una is used: una mujer, treinta y una mujeres. Uno is used only when counting (uno, dos, tres) or for numerals refering to a masculine noun but does not precede that noun: ¿Cuántos hijos tienes? - Uno (or else we simply write) - un hijo

20 veinte
21 veintiuno/a
22 veintidós

21-29 are usually a single word composed as follows: omit the last e from veinte and add i instead then add the digit = veintiuno, the rest 30-99 can be formed up to three words: treinta y uno.

30 treinta
31 treinta y uno/a


More Cardinal Numbers

40 cuarenta
50 cincuenta
60 sesenta
70 setenta
80 ochenta
90 noventa
100 cien(to)
101 ciento uno

200 doscientos/as
300 trescientos/as

400 cuatrocientos/as
500 quinientos/as
600 seiscientos/as
700 setecientos/as
800 ochocientos/as
900 novecientos/as

1.000 mil
1.500 mil quinientos
2.000 dos mil
1.000.000 un millón


So in short, uno in compound numbers loses the -o before masculine nouns, whether singular or plural: cuarenta y un días (forty-one days).
Dates (months and years) are cardinal numbers in Spanish, except for the first of the month: El 8 (ocho) de mayo de 1987 (mil novecientos ochenta y siete) (the eight of may, 1987). But: Hoy es el primero de enero (Today is January first).

Ordinal numbers in Spanish


Ordinal numbers are used for positions, we say in English “first” “second” when referring to the position of someone/ something… same thing in Spanish:


Spanish Ordinal Numbers

primer(o)/a (first)
segundo/a (second)
tercer(o)/a (third)
cuarto/a (fourth)
quinto/a (fifth)

sexto/a (sixth)
séptimo/a (seventh)
octavo/a (eighth)
noveno/a (ninth)
décimo/a (tenth)


After ten, cardinal numbers are generally used to indicate the ordinal numbers which makes it very easy for Spanish learners:
Luis trece (Lewis the Thirteenth)
el siglo veintiuno (the twenty first century)

Note that Spanish reverses the English usage of commas and periods in numbers: 1.250 kilómetros = 1,250 kilometers; 1,25 litros = 1.25 liters.


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