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

I know the title sounds stupid, but this is one question that has left me stumped for quite some time. I hope to get an answer in this forum. If the answer is "I am the fourth son of my father", what should be the question?

In general, how do you ask questions with ordinal numbers?

  • 1
    "Son of my father" sounds very poetic, but it would be more usual to say "I am my father's fourth son." As for your actual question... I'm thinking, I'm thinking! – MT_Head Jul 8 '12 at 4:53

I don't think you can ask that question directly. The conversation could go something like the following:

How many children does your father have? To which the answer could be three.

You could go on and say:

Which one are you? To which the answer could be I am the youngest, oldest, second, third, etc.

Now the last question might seem ambiguous if it's standing all by its own. But it would make sense once it's in context.

  • Would just point out that this doesn't actually answer the question, being as the question asks specifically about sons...but never mind that ;-) – Giu Piete Feb 24 '19 at 18:23

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