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How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)?
How to ask a question to get a cardinal number answer

Neil Armstrong was the first man on the Moon.

I need to convert this into a question. If "Neil Armstrong" was the answer, the interrogative form would be

Who was the first man on the Moon?

How do you ask this as a question if "first" was the answer?

Another example would be

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States

  • You cannot form such a interrogative sentence. That is a very tricky question and i don't think there exists a word in English vocabulary which would convey this meaning. Try using the word "Rank" though it doesn't serve the whole purpose but that is the nearest i could think of.
    – Apoorva
    Feb 9 '12 at 10:25
  • Unfortunately, there is no provision for such form of interrogative sentence in English. The closest form of asking would be whence did Neil Armstrong land on the moon? However, this question could not necessarily be answered "first". Feb 9 '12 at 10:27
  • Thanks! I was looking for the English translation of a Telugu sentence. But, it looks like there isn't one.
    – harithski
    Feb 9 '12 at 11:40