# Thread: how to frame a question?

1. ## how to frame a question?

Mr. Obama is the 45th president of the USA. How do we frame a question so as to get 45th as the answer?

2. ## Re: how to frame a question?

Originally Posted by Unregistered
Mr. Obama is the 45th president of the USA. How do we frame a question so as to get 45th as the answer?
Maybe: "Which ordinal president is Mr. Obama?"

3. ## Re: how to frame a question?

Originally Posted by timmpage
Maybe: "Which ordinal president is Mr. Obama?"
Yes, you would have to use "ordinal" or 'ordinal number' in your question to get the desired answer.

4. ## Re: how to frame a question?

Originally Posted by Unregistered
Mr. Obama is the 45th president of the USA. How do we frame a question so as to get 45th as the answer?
Whichth president is Mr. Obama?
I know this probably isn't a word, but it should be. It sounds better than calling him an ordinal president.
(By the way, we get this question every month. There's no right answer).
Most people would use a circumlocution like, "You know how Washington was the first president? What number is Obama?"

5. ## Re: how to frame a question?

Originally Posted by Unregistered
Mr. Obama is the 45th president of the USA. How do we frame a question so as to get 45th as the answer?
***NOT A TEACHER*** Maybe something like: What number (of) president is Mr. Obama? / Oh, he's the 44th. (P.S. Mr. Obama is officially the 44th although only 43 persons have been president. One president was counted twice.)

6. ## Re: how to frame a question?

Originally Posted by Raymott
There's no right answer). I don't agree. The words may vary but the right question has to include the word "ordinal". I would use 'ordinal number' because it might be better understood.

Most people would use a circumlocution like, "You know how Washington was the first president? What number is Obama?" But I am sure that many people will say 45, not 45th.

2006

7. ## Re: how to frame a question?

Originally Posted by 2006
But I am sure that many people will say 45, not 45th.
Of course. And many people would be stumped by the word 'ordinal'.
I was assuming the OP meant what question you could ask in real life to get that answer. I agree that asking about this is fraught with dangers and the very real possibility that the questioner would have to add the 'th' themselves.
But that's not a deficiency of my question, which illustrates for the questionee what is meant. 'Ordinal' is not used in the question: 'first' is offered as a template.

8. ## Re: how to frame a question?

Originally Posted by Raymott
Of course. And many people would be stumped by the word 'ordinal'. I'm sure they would, but the goal is not to have everybody understand the question; the goal is to force everyone who does understand the question to answer with an ordinal number.

I was assuming the OP meant what question you could ask in real life to get that answer. But of course it's not a real-life question. It's a contrived question whose sole purpose is to force people to use the ordinal number.

I agree that asking about this is fraught with dangers and the very real possibility that the questioner would have to add the 'th' themselves. But we obviously can't have the questioner adding the "th". That would eliminate the whole point of the exercise.

But that's not a deficiency of my question, which illustrates for the questionee what is meant. I think it is, because when they say 45 and you say "wrong, try again", they wil ask why it is wrong. You asked for a number and they will say 45 is a number.
Sorry for being so persistent, but I don't see any other way of forcing them to say 45th.

'Ordinal' is not used in the question: 'first' is offered as a template. "first" may make some people use the ordinal number, but it won't quarantee an ordinal-number answer.
Again, we can only concern ourselves with those who know what an ordinal number is. And with this question recurring as it does, that should be more and more people. :)

2006

9. ## Re: how to frame a question?

Originally Posted by 2006
I was assuming the OP meant what question you could ask in real life to get that answer. But of course it's not a real-life question. It's a contrived question whose sole purpose is to force people to use the ordinal number.
Actually, I think the whole thing is a contrived question to force people such as us on English sites into disagreements and controversy - like the 'gry' question. It will do the rounds and be wheeled back here in another few weeks.
So, I'm sticking to "whichth".

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