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54

It's an ordinal indicator: In written languages, an ordinal indicator is a letter, or group of letters, following a numeral denoting that it is an ordinal number, rather than a cardinal number. Historically these letters were "elevated terminals", that is to say the last few letters of the full word denoting the ordinal form of the number displayed as a ...


51

I can't speak to the history of the usage, but basically, yes, "birthday" means the anniversary of your birth, not the original day of the event. People rarely refer to the day someone was born as his "birthday". Rather, we call that "the day he was born". If you want to know the date someone was born, including the year, you don't ask, "When was your ...


31

Your son's first birthday will be 23 September 2015. 23 September 2014 was his zeroth birthday. Like C arrays, laws of thermodynamics, and the days of March, birthdays are zero-indexed.


24

English doesn't have a standard way of framing a question whose answer is an ordinal number. (Although, which and what can be used but they don't cover all the cases. Some familiar examples are: What grade are you in?, On which floor is your apartment?. You can try framing the question in several ways but it doesn't guarantee that the answer will include an ...


20

Major edit: while I still personally like (k+1)th, @Mitch has found confirmation for (k+1)st in a math handbook, to which I must concur. Therefore, (k+1)st appears to be the most correct to mathematicians. Barring any future pertinent revelations, I would suggest using (k+1)st. Kay plus first seems worse to me because one visualizes k + 1st instead of (k+...


20

According to the 1949 Bibliographical description and cataloguing by John Duncan Cowley: The earliest printers used roman numerals more often than arabic and usually divided a long numeral by means of stops, thus: M.ccccc.xvij. M. v. C. xxvij. M | CCCCC. | XLII. M. D. xliii They also habitually printed a stop before as well ...


18

Some native speakers find it difficult to pronounce sixth ( /sɪksθ/ ). It is not uncommon to hear people say 'sikth' ( /sɪkθ/ ). I believe that some are unaware of this mispronunciation. I personally pronounce 'xth' as /ɛksθ/. Unfortunately, saying /ɛkθ/ simply sounds wrong so I don't suggest that as an alternative. If you are reading the expression ...


16

In India many people pronounce it as /ɛksəθ/. Having a syllable between s and θ helps people say it.


14

Assuming it's known I'm talking about code, I would simply say: On line seventeen. If not, let's say I'm discussing a piece of software, I would qualify the sentence: On line seventeen of the code. I would only use this if I were comparing one piece of code with another and visually indicating a particular piece of code. I might phrase it as in your ...


13

The short answer: yes, it is productive, because you can create words using this suffix that have never been heard before, such as the two-trillion-and-sixteenth coin in Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin. From Wikipedia: A productive grammatical process defines an open class, one which admits new words or forms. Non-productive grammatical processes may be seen ...


13

I stumbled upon that some time ago while coding, after all naming convention is very important to proper software architecture :) My conclusion was, birthday = anniversary, birthdate = date of birth. You can understand this if you are familiar with the concept of abstraction - what is a day if not a date without a year (Independence Day, Labour Day, etc)? ...


12

Navigating the complexities of modern families with English semantics and syntax can generate a bevy of interesting question and answer combinations. An excellent foundation for the queries posted would be the interrogative: What is your place in the birth order of your family? Various complexities of the family dynamic would still need to be sorted out ...


12

Thanks to everyone who answered this question. I'm very happy with the results! It looks like everyone has contributed to the ideal "best answer". Since I can't accept them all, I think it would be best to summarize all the answers as a community wiki post and accept that. (I hope this is not a breach of protocol.) This question is mostly about usage. Some ...


12

To some extent, it depends on the font you are using and how accessible its special features are. If you can do full typesetting, then you probably want to make the th part look different from the 20 part, just like they do here: There they have idiosyncratically used 20th rather than 20th, but the point is that the letters and numbers — more properly, ...


12

There is no reason to think that birthday is shortened from anything. There are several phrases with day which mean "anniversary" or "commemoration" - name day, saint's day, Independence Day. Birth day (as a phrase) fits in to this pattern. The first meaning given for birthday in the OED is "the day on which anyone is born" (with transferred and figurative ...


11

You already had the answer: it’s zeroth. I think you’ll find that -th is a modestly productive suffix in English for indicating ordinals other than first, second, and third. For example, consider the nth element in a series, or the i th and j th indices of (two-dimensional) matrix. You can even find “epsilonth” (εth) if you look hard enough. But that one’...


11

I would simply avoid the use of ordinals that are not whole numbers. They make no sense, and they can easily be avoided. If there is a line of people, I cannot say that I pick every 1.5th person. Every suggests you actually identify an individual occurrence of something, which can never be the 1.1st occurrence. Change the phrase to something like 10 ...


11

Style guide guidance The strongest proponent of firstly I've encountered is H.W. Fowler, Modern English Usage (1926): First(ly), secondly, lastly. The preference for first over firstly in formal enumerations is one of the harmless pedantries in which those who like oddities because they are odd are free to indulge, provided that they abstain from ...


10

I think the OP wants this to be question structure which could be asked of any president. I think giving examples would make it clear. If George Washington was the 1st President of the United States, and John Adams was the 2nd, what number president is Barack Obama? Obviously if you wanted to ask the question on John Adams you could simply replace his ...


10

This is an ordinal indicator. In written languages, an ordinal indicator is a character, or group of characters, following a numeral denoting that it is an ordinal number, rather than a cardinal number. In English orthography, this corresponds to the suffixes -st, -nd, -rd, -th in written ordinals (represented either on the line 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or ...


9

It's normal to represent third as 3rd, not "3d". The latter might be used if a foreign language were being translated by someone who is used to using only a single character to represent an ordinal (for example, in Italian). This is supported by a Google Ngram comparing 3rd to 3d. The former occurs more often, even though "3d" could have a meaning as "three-...


9

No, neither choice is a universally accepted convention, and a reviewer is more likely to know the chosen convention for the journal or academic setting in which this discussion is occurring. You might get the style sheet for the journal (it probably being available as a pdf file) and do a search for 'superscript'. It has always annoyed me that Microsoft ...


8

Preface Given how important the ordinal birth number would be for birthrights, especially where the concept of primogeniture was involved, I thought that would be a good place to start research. Unfortunately my cursory glance at The Bill of Rights of 1688 and The Act of Succession 1700 did not reveal much and I'm not sure what other traditions factored ...


8

For a relatively well-educated audience, you might try: What ordinal number represents the position of Barack Obama in the succession of US presidents?


8

Unless you are writing for some publication that mandates one or the other, use whichever you wish. There is absolutely no should about the matter.


7

If you google halfth, you get 114,000 hits, the first of which is "One-and-a-halfth-order logic." And there's the famous cartoon Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (the official pronunciation of this is twenty-fourth and a half). UPDATE: Googling, I get two hits for "one-and-a halfth derivative" and three for "first-and-a-half derivative". So these ...


7

I've done some research: What cardinal number child are you ?                sounds off-putting This question is perfectly fine, but sounds unpleasant in a conversation. What number child are you ?                      acceptable Although informal, you can expect an answer with this question. Chronologically speaking, which child are you ? ...


7

In the numerical listing of Presidents of the United States, what number was Obama? or shortly What number is president Obama? I heard the latter from Jay Leno while he was asking this to a girl in his show. Another alternative, as suggested in comments given below, is: What number president is Obama?


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