Cardinal, Ordinal
and Nominal Numbers

Cardinal: how many
Ordinal: position
Nominal: name

Cardinal Numbers

A Cardinal Number says how many of something, such as one, two, three, four, five, etc.

Example: here are five coins:

five coins

It does not have fractions or decimals, it is only used for counting.

How to remember: "Cardinal is Counting"

Ordinal Numbers

An Ordinal Number tells us the position of something in a list.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on (see Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers Chart for more.)

Example: In this picture the girl is 2nd:

dog girl pups line
And the two pups are 3rd and 4th.

How to remember: "Ordinal says what Order things are in".

Nominal Numbers

A Nominal Number is a number used only as a name, or to identify something (not as an actual value or position)

soccer number 8


  • the number on the back of a player: "8"
  • a zip code: "91210"
  • a model number: "380"

How to remember: "Nominal is a Name".


Example With Everything

cars racing

In this photo there are 6 cars. Car Number "99" (with the yellow roof) is in 1st position:


2652, 6677, 6680, 6683, 6687, 6681, 6682, 6685, 6686, 6688