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Thread: "nth"?

  1. #1
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question "nth"?

    Hi there,

    I don't know how to ask a question about the following case. I'll give you the answer, and I hope you'll kindly give me the question.

    "I'm the 14th president of this country."
    Or, "I'm the 3rd teacher in that class."

    I do wonder what the question is! Thanks a lot....

  2. #2
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    Re: "nth"?

    Those types of numbers are referred to as "ordinals," as they refer to a specific order of things. (The second president, the ninth in line to the British throne, etc.)

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    Re: "nth"?

    Whichth

    This is what once Raymott suggested.

    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/as...-question.html

  4. #4
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    Unhappy Re: "nth"?

    Thanks. I saw that page. Interesting! I suppose "whichth" might work better in an informal context or real life English. Especially, say, in case of my second example, "He's the 3rd teacher in that class" I don't think "ordinal number" works. I'd appreciate it if anyone could make this a bit more clear. Many thanks.

  5. #5
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    Re: "nth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Thanks. I saw that page. Interesting! I suppose "whichth" might work better in an informal context or real life English. Especially, say, in case of my second example, "He's the 3rd teacher in that class" I don't think "ordinal number" works. I'd appreciate it if anyone could make this a bit more clear. Many thanks.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "I don't think ordinal number works". There is an example of an ordinal number in both your examples. However, I can think of at least three possible questions which would result in the answer "He's the 3rd teacher in that class":

    He's the whichth* teacher in that class?
    He's the third what in that class?
    In what is he the third teacher?

    *I would like to point out that until the thread on here a couple of weeks ago, I had never heard nor seen "whichth"!

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    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: "nth"?

    I find "whichth" to be an amusing non-word.

  7. #7
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    Re: "nth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by "I don't think ordinal number works". There is an example of an ordinal number in both your examples. However, I can think of at least three possible questions which would result in the answer "He's the 3rd teacher in that class":

    He's the whichth* teacher in that class?
    He's the third what in that class?
    In what is he the third teacher?

    *I would like to point out that until the thread on here a couple of weeks ago, I had never heard nor seen "whichth"!

    Thanks a lot for the reply. By "ordinal number" I mean, it sounds less likely for a schoolboy to ask a classmate "What ordinal number that teacher is?"

    In your examples you've used "third", what if we don't know if he/she is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. and exactly want to ask a question to find this out? Cheers.

  8. #8
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    Re: "nth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Thanks a lot for the reply. By "ordinal number" I mean, it sounds less likely for a schoolboy to ask a classmate "What ordinal number that teacher is?"

    In your examples you've used "third", what if we don't know if he/she is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. and exactly want to ask a question to find this out? Cheers.
    Without using the rather bizarre "whichth" (see my first suggested question in my previous post, which would elicit the answer "He's the third teacher...") I can't really think of an exact way to do it.

    You could ask "How many other teachers have taught that class before him?" Answer "Two other teachers". This would lead you to extrapolate that he is the third teacher, but it wouldn't actually elicit the answer "He's the third teacher..."

    Maybe "Is he the first teacher...?"
    Answer "No, he's the third teacher..."

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    Re: "nth"?

    In Polish we say something like "which in the order". Is it correct in English?

  10. #10
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    Re: "nth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Hi there,

    I don't know how to ask a question about the following case. I'll give you the answer, and I hope you'll kindly give me the question.

    "I'm the 14th president of this country."
    Or, "I'm the 3rd teacher in that class."

    I do wonder what the question is! Thanks a lot....
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Mehrgan.

    Tom: What number president was Abraham Lincoln?

    Mona: Oh, he was the 16th.

    Thank you












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