What is the most correct form for 3 in ordinal form: 3rd or 3d? I know both are valid. But I heard that 3rd is something like spoken form and it's grammatically correct to use 3d.

closed as general reference by tchrist, FumbleFingers, Kristina Lopez, MetaEd, kiamlaluno Mar 16 '13 at 11:31

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  • I prefer 3rd, but I have seen 3d for this. Perhaps more commonly in 19th century writing. – GEdgar Mar 15 '13 at 14:43
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    Just interesting, what the reason of down votes? It's a correct question about usage and grammar... – Kyrylo M Mar 15 '13 at 16:54

It's normal to represent third as 3rd, not "3d". The latter might be used if a foreign language were being translated by someone who is used to using only a single character to represent an ordinal (for example, in Italian).

This is supported by a Google Ngram comparing 3rd to 3d. The former occurs more often, even though "3d" could have a meaning as "three-dimensional". The large number of occurrences from the nineteenth century are probably explained by "3d" being "three pence", a currency amount so common that it had its own coin from around 1550 to 1967.

  • Note that the rd part is oft written as a superscript. – tchrist Mar 15 '13 at 12:38
  • The interesting fact we can notice from Google Ngram is that 3d was more popular in American English and 3rd - in British English. – Kyrylo M Mar 15 '13 at 18:29

To be argumentative about the earlier centuries I googled "1st 2d and 3d" ...

A map from 1863, titled:

Gettysburg Battlefield. Battle fought at Gettysburg, Pa. July 1st, 2d & 3d 1863 by the Federal and Confederate armies commanded respectively by Genl. G. G. Meade and Genl. Robert E. Lee.


volume in the Library of Congress

Jayne's index register, (1st, 2d and 3d editions) to advertisements (1872)


and many more...

  • Good findings, but what about modern grammar? – Kyrylo M Mar 15 '13 at 18:25
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    Less common, but not nonexistent. Job posting from Jaunary, 2013: "Job: Warehouse General Laborer 1st 2d And 3d Shifts" – GEdgar Mar 15 '13 at 19:44

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