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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..."

marked as duplicate by J.R., StoneyB, Barrie England, RegDwigнt Nov 27 '12 at 9:33

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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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 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 Nov 27 '12 at 9:51