0

How do you say the next ordinal number after N?

Nth + 1?

(N + 1)th?

N + 1st?

These all sound wrong to me.

Contrived example:

Not to be outdone, whenever he researched a topic to the n-th degree, she would research the same topic to the ??? degree.

4
  • 3
    (N+1)th doesn't sound wrong to me. It's how they write/say it in mathematics, I believe. However, I don't think it's idiomatic to follow this pattern in the example sentence provided. To the nth degree means to the utmost degree; there is no need to say to the (n+1) th degree.
    – user405662
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 6:41
  • "nth plus one" won't do. "x to the nth plus one" means $x^n+1$; it means you raise $x$ to the nth power and then you add one to the result. $n$ plus first is unambiguous and thus fine --- it fits the same pattern as "twenty-first".
    – Rosie F
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 7:17
  • 1
    After N comes O, so... to the Oth degree
    – m.a.a.
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 7:18
  • @m.a.a. ... "the oath degree" I like it :)
    – GEdgar
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 13:17

1 Answer 1

-1

Nth + 1? / (N + 1)th? / N + 1st? These all sound wrong to me.

(N + 1)th is the correct form. "th" is the generic ordinal prefix. If the value of "N" were known, let it be 27, then (N + 1)th becomes (27 + 1)th: (the maths is done) and we have "28th".

If you want to avoid this, then

Not to be outdone, whenever he researched a topic to the n-th degree, she would research one degree further.

This is clearly hyperbole - but then, that is what you want.

2
  • If the value of N were 30, then you would have the (30 + 1)th, which becomes the "31st". Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 12:17
  • @PeterShor Hmm... The series to N does not work like that. It is rather like suggesting that if N happened to be 21, it would have to be said as "the Nst". -- Consider: Teacher: "This is the formula for calculating compound interest where n is the number of years. Your homework is to provide the formula for the difference between the nth and (n+1)th years. (I am reminded of "Teacher: 'Let the angle ABC be 72 degrees.'..." Molesworth: "What if it isn't, Sir?")
    – Greybeard
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 13:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.