I have noticed that sometimes we write ordinal numbers with the "th" a little higher than the numbers. But sometimes I see it just attached to it. Which one is correct?

  • 2
    It's purely a matter of style. Follow one of: the convention(s) of the publications you are writing for or your own taste. Jan 26, 2020 at 19:11
  • No idea why you tagged this grammar, as typesetting and grammar really have nothing to do with each other.
    – tchrist
    Jan 26, 2020 at 21:28
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? “20th century” vs. “20ᵗʰ century”
    – Laurel
    Jan 27, 2020 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


The difference is a pure matter of style . Writing the 'th' in miniature as superscript is a long-established convention, used, I imagine, to create a visible distinction between between the written word thirteenth and the corresponding 13th.

Well, you can see one of the main reasons for using the ordinary 'th' and its superscript sibling: for some reason, either the version of the typing application that I have does not have the facility of allowing the miniature superscript I want, or, more probably, I do not know how to access it and cannot be bothered to access it.

Most commercial or academic publishers and all major newspapers follow their own policy for the printing of ordinal numbers, and will insist upon compliance with their policies for writing, grammar and punctuation. For more ordinary folk, whether to go superscript or not is a matter of personal choice.

  • Yeah, I don’t think Twentieᵗʰ, Twenty-firˢᵗ, Twenty-secoⁿᵈ, Twenty-thiʳᵈ would go over very well. :) Bringhurst recommends not doing this at all for ordinal numbers written as the 101st and such, but style guides vary. There are many, many other reasons for a typeface to provide a full set of superiors beyond merely letting you write 101ˢᵗ
    – tchrist
    Jan 26, 2020 at 21:22
  • @HighPerformanceMark Thank you: I edited it.
    – Tuffy
    Jan 27, 2020 at 12:04

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