Chinese Numbers

20 Chinese Ordinal Numbers with 第 Dì – First, Second, Third Position in Mandarin

Defining a Category Number Position in Chinese



What are Chinese Ordinal Numbers?

Chinese Ordinal Numbers are defining number positions in a series such as first, second, third and so on. Cardinal numbers are 1, 2, 3, 10, 100 etc. You can also test your listening comprehension on the Chinese numerals.

Simple Formula for Number Position in Chinese with 第 

We always use the Chinese word | , followed by a Cardinal Number (1, 2, 3 …), then a Measure Word with a noun for forming Chinese Ordinal Numbers as per the formula below.

Dì + Number + Measure Word + Noun

第  +  号码  +  量词  +  名词
Dì + Hào Mǎ + Liàng Cí + Míng Cí


20 Chinese Ordinal Numbers with 第 Dì to Sweep Your Feet

Look at the table below. To help you understand better and to learn more Chinese measure words and nouns with audio at the same time, the table of 20 Chinese Ordinal Numbers will use the formula stated above.

The first position第一 名Dì yī míng
The second person第二 个 人Dì èr gè rén
The third time in love第三 次 恋爱Dì sān cì liàn’ài
The fourth dog第四 条 狗Dì sì tiáo gǒu
The fifth cat第五 只 猫Dì wǔ zhǐ māo
The sixth car第六 辆 车Dì liù liàng chē
The seventh house第七 栋 房子Dì qī dòng fáng zi
The eighth room第八 间 房间Dì bā jiān fáng jiān
The ninth room第九 部 电影Dì jiǔ bù diàn yǐng
The tenth table & chair第十 张 桌子和椅子Dì shí zhāng zhuō zi hé yǐ zi

 

The 11th book第十一 本 书Dì shí yī běn shū
The 12th knife第十二 把 刀Dì shí’èr bǎ dāo
The 13th cup of coffee第十三 杯 咖啡Dì shí sān bēi kā fēi
The 14th mountain第十四 座 山Dì shí sì zuò shān
The 15th bottle of milk第 十五 瓶 牛奶Dì shí wǔ píng niú nǎi
The 16th flower第十 朵 花Dì shí liù duǒ huā
The 17th bouquet of flower第十七 束 花Dì shí qī shù huā
The 18th newspaper第十八 份 报纸Dì shí bā fèn bào zhǐ
The 19th computer第十九 台 电脑Dì shí jiǔ tái diàn nǎo
The 20th sentence第二十 句 话Dì èr shí jù huà



Removing Measure Word from Chinese Ordinal Numbers

Of course, there are always exceptions to the grammar rule where the measure word/classifier are omitted out in the Chinese Ordinal Numbers.

1. When the Chinese Ordinal Numbers form part of the name of an establishment or the designation of a person, the measure word is dropped. Examples: First Bank (第一银行), First Lady (第一夫人).

2. When the Chinese Ordinal Numbers appear in a news headline, or a brief text not amounting to a complete Chinese sentence, the measure word may be excluded too.

3. In combination with some nouns relating to dates such as “the first year 第一年 Dì yī nián and “the first day 第一天 Dì yī tiān”, there is no classifier. However, to describe the first month, there is always a classifier – 第一月 Dì yī yuè.

Removing Substantive Noun from Chinese Ordinal Numbers

There are instances where the substantive noun can be dropped and left with only  Dì + Number + Measure Word. If the previous sentence has already mentioned the term, it is not necessary to repeat it again.

One example below which is similar to English sentence. Who 谁 Shuí / Shéi is an Interrogative Pronoun here and refers to a person and can never be something else. Likewise in the Chinese language, the same logic applies so we can drop the noun (person).

Who is the first? 

谁是第一位/个?
Shéi shì dì yī wèi / gè?



Essay with Chinese Ordinal Numbers

The Chinese essay below uses several Chinese Ordinal Numbers sentences to give you an idea how to deploy 第 in Mandarin. We drop some measure words and nouns, observing the grammar rules discussed above.

The story mentioned two children孩子 Háizi. The Chinese term is removed in the second and third sentences since the first one had already stated it. Thus, the following sentences do not have to mention them again.

Ten years ago, I just ended my first relationship. Shortly after, I met my husband. He was my second boyfriend. At that time, he was also my colleague. That was my third job. On the tenth month of being together, which was also our fourth travel, he proposed to me. After the third year of marriage, I already have two children. My first child is a son. The second is a daughter. Now, I am pregnant with the third.


十年前,我刚刚结束了我第一段恋情。不久后,我认识了我丈夫。他是我第二个男朋友。 当时,他也是我的同事。那是我第三份工作。在交往的第十个月, 也是我们第4次旅行,他向我求婚。婚后第三年,我已经有两个孩子了。我第一个孩子是儿子,第二个是女儿。现在,我怀了第三胎


Shí nián qián, wǒ gāng gāng jiés hù le wǒ dì yī duàn liàn qíng. Bù jiǔ hòu, wǒ rèn shì le wǒ zhàng fū. Tā shì wǒ dì èr gè nán péng yǒu. Dāng shí, tā yě shì wǒ de tóng shì. Nà shì wǒ dì sān fèn gōng zuò. Zài jiāo wǎng de dì shí gè yuè, yě shì wǒ men dì sì cì lǚ xíng, tā xiàng wǒ qiú hūn. Hūn hòu dì sān nián, wǒ yǐ jīng yǒu liǎng gè hái zi le. Wǒ dì yī gè hái zi shì ér zi, dì èr gè shì nǚ’ér. Xiàn zài, wǒ huái le dì sān tāi.


Number Position in Chinese – First, Second, Third

The above demonstrates a general use of the number position. Now, I would like to highlight the first three position – first, second, third in Chinese during a competition. Whenever we mention a position in Chinese gained during a contest, we use the measure word/classifier Míng.

I got first in the Chinese exam.

我在华文考试中得了第一名。
Wǒ zài huá wén kǎo shì zhōng dé liǎo dì yī míng.


He got second in a swimming contest.

他在游泳比赛中拿了第二名。
Tā zài yóu yǒng bǐ sài zhōng ná le dì èr míng.


She got third in a singing competition.

她在歌唱比赛中获得了第三名。
Tā zài gē chàng bǐ sài zhōng huò dé le dì sān míng.


Getting the first position in a competition, how do you feel?

比赛中取得了第一名,你有什么感想?
Bǐ sài zhōng qǔ dé le dì yī míng, nǐ yǒu shé me gǎn xiǎng?


For his first competition, he won the second position. Impressive!

他在第一次比赛中,就赢得第二名,真了不起!
Tā zài dì yī cì bǐ sài zhōng, jiù yíng dé dì èr míng, zhēn liǎo bù qǐ!


The brand from that company rose up to the third position in Asia.

那间公司的品牌在亚洲升到第三名。
Nà jiān gōng sī de pǐn pái zài yà zhōu shēng dào dì sān míng.

 

Competition 比赛 Bǐsài + In/During  Zhōng

The Chinese word  Zhōng is frequently used after the word – Competition 比赛 Bǐsài Zhōng means “middle”, “in the midst of something” or the preposition “in/during”.

Chinese Verbs Relating to Competition

There are a few Chinese verbs that can go with obtaining or winning a position. The choices stated below is almost interchangeable in the above sentence constructions.

Get得(了)Dé(le)
Take拿(了)Ná(le)
Gain获得(了)Huòdé(le)
Obtain, Acquire取得(了)Qǔdé(le)
Win赢得(了)Yíngdé(le)

You can win a competition but awkward to use ‘Win 赢得 Yíngdé’ when it comes to an examination. Therefore, it is not wise to say in Chinese “我在华文考试中赢得了第一名 | I win first in the Chinese exam” because it sounds exaggerating and boastful as an exam is not a competition.




How to Say “Champion, 1st and 2nd Runner-Up” in Chinese?

Especially In a large-scaled contest such as beauty pageants and singing competition, the word “Champion” is used, followed by the first and second runner-up to denote second and third place respectively.

Champion冠军Guàn jūn
1st Runner-Up亚军Yà jūn
2nd Runner-Up季军Jì jūn

 

The representative from China is the champion for the international beauty pageant.

中国代表在国际选美大赛中获得冠军。
Zhōng guó dài biǎo zài guó jì xuǎn měi dà sài zhōng huò dé guàn jūn.


They are the first runner-up in the Olympic Men’s Basketball tournament.

他们在奥运会男子篮球赛赢得亚军。
Tā men zài ào yùn huì nán zǐ lán qiú sài yíng dé yà jūn.


She is the second runner-up in the Global Chinese Singing Competition.

她在全球华人歌唱比赛中取得季军。
Tā zài quán qiú huá rén gē chàng bǐ sài zhōng qǔ dé jì jūn.

 

Next Lesson

Learn how to do simple Math in Chinese with add, subtract, multiply and divide (加减乘除). Other than that, you will also learn how to use the Chinese words above and apply them in your daily life.

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