How do ordinal suffixes work with mathematical constants and other non-Arabic numbers?

This question was inspired by a tweet from the FakeUnicode Twitter account, a semi-novelty account sharing various examples in the wild of bugs, glitches and other unintended results from improperly implementing the Unicode character encoding standard. What are the English ordinal suffixes of various mathematical constants and concepts? Is it always -th? πᵗʰ 𝑒ᵗʰ ℎᵗʰ … Read more

Why is the order for some words that function as ordinal numbers flexible?

Adjectives, numbers, and determiners have a set order when multiples are used to reference the same noun at once. When cardinal and ordinal numbers are used at the same time, the ordinal always comes first. However, there are some words that seem to function as ordinals but which seem to be flexible in their order … Read more

Use of degree symbol for Latinate ordinal number shorthand

I remember often having professors in college use degree symbols to write shorthand versions of Latinate ordinal numbers. For example: 1° Primary 2° Secondary 3° Tertiary 4° Quaternary I have a few questions regarding this shorthand approach: Does this approach have a name? What is the origin of this approach? Is it simply a shorthand … Read more

Primary, secondary, tertiary, etc… – what is the -ary for the etc? The nth-ary?

Target: I’ve been losing my mind ever since I learned “tertiary” corresponds to 3 instead of encompassing all the lower orders. I have bi-weekly need of a word in the same vein as primary/secondary, but unspecified and non-primary, when talking about computery things, religion, and philosophy. I’m looking specifically for a completion of the set; … Read more

How do I write a variable as an ordinal number?

I’m charged with translating a technical document into English, and ran into a bit of an odd problem: the document refers to undefined numbers of elements, and uses letters to represent those numbers, as you would see in algebra. The order of those elements are important, so they need to be written as ordinal numbers. … Read more

What comes after (Primary,unary),(secondary,binary),(tertiary,ternary),…?

I was curious to know what comes after: Primary, secondary, tertiary, … This Oxford website says it is “quartenary, quinary, …” But they are already taken! Unary, binary, ternary, quaternary, quinary, … And according to this EL&U post deriving from the Latin originals should give: Primary, secondary, tertiary, quartary, quintary, … Wiktionary says that “quartary” … Read more

Ways to express popularity

I’m writing a piece about baby name popularity, and right now in order to express how popular a name was, I’m constantly using sentences in the form of: In [year number], Henry was the _th most popular name. I already have many sentences that look like that, so I need some diversity. Can anyone help? … Read more

Natural way of asking for ordinal position in athletic events

For the long jump event at my school athletics carnival, people nominate and then get arrange in a certain order. I am looking for a natural way of phrasing a question to get someone to tell me where he fits in that order/sequence. One a native speaker would causually use. For example, if you’re person … Read more