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Duplicate of:
How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)?
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A question for this answer

I would like to know: How to ask a question such that the expected answer includes the "nth thing"?

The only way I could do of to do this is by asking:

How many cups of coffee have you had today?

but the answer to that would be, "3", not "This is my third..."

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    Could you at least elaborate, and explain why "How many cups of coffee have you had today?" (to which one might reply, "Three.") would be undesirable? – J.R. Nov 27 '12 at 9:22
  • Welcome to ELU. This question has been asked (and answered) here before: How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)? – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 27 '12 at 9:27
  • @StoneyB: that may answer the question, yes, but you gotta admit, it sure makes for an awkward way to ask about the morning joe. – J.R. Nov 27 '12 at 9:34
  • Please search the site before posting. This question gets asked so often, it's even on the FAQ tab. Thank you. – RegDwigнt Nov 27 '12 at 9:42
  • @J.R. To be sure; but if you want to be colloquial you don't constrain answers to a specific form. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 27 '12 at 9:51