Cardinal and ordinal numerals in Russian

Today we’re going to talk about Russian numbers. Phone numbers, counting people, things and money – numerals are everywhere. That’s why this topic is essential if you want to speak Russian very well.

Cardinal numerals

Let’s learn how to count to ten at first.

раз (один) – one

два – two

три – three

четыре – four

пять – five

шесть – six

семь – seven

восемь – eight

девять – nine

десять – ten

Basic numbers in Russian

Note that numbers 5-10 have the soft sign at the end. So, you have to make the preceding consonant sound softer when pronouncing.

What’s the difference between один and раз? We use раз only when counting. But not when you name what you are counting. For example, when you count apples, you say in Russian: одно яблоко, два яблока, три яблока and so on.

Раз is also a noun and means “time” n Russian. Interesting that there is an expression один раз with two of these words at the same time that means “one time” (two times – два раза, three times – три раза, etc.).

Cardinal numerals from 11 to 19 are not easy to remember. But they all have one common part. Maybe it will help you in memorizing them.

одиннадцать – eleven

двенадцать – twelve

тринадцать – thirteen

четырнадцать – fourteen

пятнадцать – fifteen

шестнадцать – sixteen

семнадцать – seventeen

восемнадцать – eighteen

девятнадцать – nineteen

For the next ten numerals, the things are going to be much easier. Because we only need to remember one new word and then you just add the number we started with. Just like in English (but without a hyphen):

двадцать – twenty

двадцать один – twenty-one

двадцать два – twenty-two

двадцать три – twenty-three

двадцать четыре – twenty-four

двадцать пять – twenty-five

двадцать шесть – twenty-six

двадцать семь – twenty-seven

двадцать восемь – twenty-eight

двадцать девять – twenty-nine

тридцать – thirty

тридцать один – thirty one

тридцать два – thirty two

and so on

сорок – forty

сорок один – forty-one

сорок два – forty-two

and so on

пятьдесят – fifty

пятьдесят один – fifty-one

пятьдесят два – fifty-two

and so on

шестьдесят – sixty

семьдесят – seventy

восемьдесят – eighty

девяносто – ninety

And now, again, we need to memorize several words, because they are different for evey hundred (with the common part and the biginning that you are already familiar with).

сто – one hundred

двести – two hundred

триста – three hundred

четыреста – four hundred

пятьсот – five hundred

шестьсот – six hundred

семьсот – seven hundred

восемьсот – eight hundred

девятьсот – nine hundred

We just add word like we do it with numbers:

1 – один

41 – сорок один

141 – сто сорок один

1 141 – тысяча сто сорок один

Numbers are placed in decrising order.

The word один changes its form depending on the gender and the number of the noun: один (m.), одна (f.), одно (n.), одни (pl.). It is the only changeable word in the list. All the other cardinal numerals don’t change their forms.

Ordinal numerals

If you’re very good at the cardinal numerals, it won’t be a problem for you to remember ordinal ones. Why is it easy? Because ordinal numerals are very similar to cardinal ones. They just change their form a little.

The secret of forming the ordinal numerals is that you take the cardinal numeral and change the ending of the last word.

You had 2305 – две тысяч триста пять

Now you have две тысячи триста пятый

Easy, isn’t it?

But there is a problem about the first and the second number. They differ from their cardinal relatives. Let’s see:

один – первый (first)

два – второй (second)

This is what you need to keep in your memory.

And all the other ordinal numbers are very similar to cardinal ones.

три – третий 

четыре – четвертый

пять – пятый

шесть – шестой

семь – седьмой

восемь – восьмой

девять – девятый

десять – десятый

одиннадцать – одиннадцатый

двенадцать – двенадцатый

тринадцать – тринадцатый

четырнадцать – четырнадцатый

пятнадцать – пятнадцатый

шестнадцать – шестнадцатый

семнадцать – семнадцатый

восемнадцать – восемнадцатый

девятнадцать – девятнадцатый

двадцать – двадцатый

двадцать один – двадцать первый

двадцать два – двадцать второй

двадцать три – двадцать третий

тридцать – тридцатый

сорок – сороковой

пятьдесят – пятидесятый

шестьдесят – шестидесятый

семьдесят – семидесятый

восемьдесят – восьмидесятый

девяносто – девяностый

сто – сотый

двести – двухсотый

триста – трехсотый

четыреста – четырехсотый

пятьсот – пятисотый

шестьсот – шестисотый

семьсот – семисотый

восемьсот – восьмисотый

девятьсот – девятисотый 

тысяча – тысячный

две тысячи – двухтысячный

три тысячи – трехтысячный

четыре тысячи – четырехтысячный

пять тысяч – пятитысячный

шесть тысяч – шеститысячный

семь тысяч – семитысячный

восемь тысяч – восьмитысячный

девять тысяч – девятитысячный

десять тысяч – десятитысячный

Well, before this list of numbers was written, I thought it was easy to remember cause there are not so many new words to remember. I was mistaken. But still, it’s easy for many situations when the big numeral ends in figures from 1 to 9. When it comes to figures from 11 to 19 it makes a little harder cause these numbers are difficult to pronounce. But as you can see they don’t change so much. They all get the same ending. If you know the cardinal numerals from 11 to 19, it will be easy for you to create the ordinal ones using them.

Much harder it gets when it comes to numbers ending in zero – 100, 1000, etc. You need to remember many words, as you can see in the previous list. So, the task gets really hard.

It’s not the only difficulty here. Don’t forget that ordinal numbers are similar to adjectives. They also change their endings depending on the gender, number and the cases they are in. So, you need to remember the adjectives rules in order to use ordinal numerals correctly.

All the ordinal numerals I listed before are masculine. To make those words feminine or neuter you need to change their endings. It’s -ая for feminine and -ое for neuter. There are some exceptions though:

первый – первая – первое
второй – вторая – второе
третий – третья – третье
четвертый – четвертая – четвертое
пятый – пятая – пятое
and so on

Now you can count in Russian. Good luck!

Leave a Comment