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Assuming that a couple have 6 kids and you pick one of them randomly and want to know if he is born 1st or 2nd or 3rd .....6th to his parents . Is it right to ask him/her What is your filial rank in the family ?

marked as duplicate by deadrat, Barmar, sumelic, TimLymington, Hellion Jul 15 '15 at 18:39

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  • 2
    Well, this is a novel way to phrase one of our most frequently asked questions. – Marthaª Jul 14 '15 at 23:36
  • Related: Ask someone about their birth order – choster Jul 14 '15 at 23:36
  • "Is it right to ask...?" Yes if they understand it or if it gets a dialogue started. That's almost win-win... By the way did you try putting key words from your question into the search box? – Hugh Jul 15 '15 at 1:23
  • Hardly any native speakers know what filial means. So you're much more likely to get an answer (rather than "Huh?") if you ask about birth order. – Brian Hitchcock Jul 15 '15 at 8:53

Filial rank will not be understood. One does not rank their children.

This is clear: Which child were you, in terms of birth order?


filial is not a very commonly used word, so many people would not even understand the question, I think.

And even if they do understand the word, rank is not very specific -- there are many criteria that could be used to rank siblings, and birth order is not likely to be the first one that comes to mind.

In my experience, people don't usually ask this question directly, it's more often asked indirectly, as in:

Are you the oldest child?


Do you have any older brothers and sisters?

When answering, they'll normally give their actual position in the response.

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