When it comes to writing numbers in English, there are often small details that can trip us up. One such confusion arises when we have to express ordinal numbers ending in “th” or “st”. For instance, should we write “9th” or “9st”? In this article, we will explore this question, providing a proper explanation supported by examples to help you understand which is the correct form to use.

To start off, let’s clarify what ordinal numbers are. Ordinal numbers are used to express the order or sequence of things. For example, in the sentence “He came in 9th place,” the ordinal number “9th” indicates that he finished in the ninth position. Similarly, in the phrase “We are on the 21st floor,” the ordinal number “21st” shows that the speaker is on the twenty-first floor of a building.

Now, when it comes to the specific case of “9th” and “9st,” the correct form to use is “9th.” Ordinal numbers from three to nine, as well as all numbers divisible by 10 (such as 20th, 30th, etc.), are formed by adding “th” to the base number. This consistent rule makes it easy for us to understand and apply in our writing.

Let’s take a look at some examples to make this clearer:

1. “I live on the 9th floor of my apartment building.” (not 9st)

2. “John finished in 4th place in the race.” (not 4st)

3. “She celebrates her birthday on the 30th of June.” (not 30st)

As you can see from these examples, using “th” to form the ordinal numbers is the correct and accepted practice in English.

On the other hand, using “st” to form ordinal numbers is not standard or grammatically correct. It is a common mistake that can easily confuse readers. For instance, if we were to write “9st,” readers may interpret it as “ninthst,” which is incorrect and misleading. It is important to remember that ordinal numbers should be clear and unambiguous for the reader.

To further illustrate why “9st” is incorrect, let’s consider a metaphor. Imagine a fashion show where the models are walking down the runway. Each model represents a different number, with their outfits indicating whether they are a cardinal or ordinal number. The “th” models would be elegantly dressed, confident in their correct attire, while the “st” models would be looking somewhat out of place, gracing the runway in outfits that are not quite right. This metaphor emphasizes the importance of using the “th” form in our writing to ensure clarity and accuracy.

In conclusion, when expressing ordinal numbers ending in “th” or “st,” it is essential to use the correct form to avoid confusion. The correct form in this case is “9th.” By following this rule consistently, we can ensure that our writing is clear, accurate, and easy to understand. So next time you need to write an ordinal number, remember the elegant “th” models on the runway of your writing and leave the out-of-place “st” models behind.