Ordinal Numbers and Sequence Words


Rule 9.7: Use the definite article with ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) and sequence words (such as next and last) that precede a noun.


This is the third time you have been late.
The last restaurant we went to was awful.
Everybody wants to know what the next big idea will be.


Exercise 5: Fill in the blanks with the or Ø.


Rule 9.8: Do not use the definite article with ordinal numbers and sequence words when describing steps taken to do something.


First, put toothpaste on your toothbrush. Second, put the toothbrush in your mouth. Last, brush your teeth.
Learning is quite simple. First, open a book. Next, read. Last, repeat as often as necessary.


Exercise 6: Fill in the blanks with the or Ø.


Rule 9.9: Do not use the definite article with ordinal numbers that refer to the names of awards or honors:


(first prize, second prize, third prize, first place, second place, third place, honorable mention).


Linda won first prize in the spelling bee.
Second prize is not enough for some people.


Exercise 7: Fill in the blanks with the or Ø.


Rule 9.10: Do not use the definite article with the words next or last when you are in the present, i.e. now, to refer to times or events that occur in the immediate past or future.


I plan to travel around the world next year.
Gina started studying English last month.
I dressed up as a clown last Halloween.
Mark isn’t going to be at school next week.


Exercise 8: If the current year were 1999…


Rule 9.11: Use the definite article with the words next or last when you are in the present, i.e. now, to refer to times or events that occur in the distant past.


The last Halloween I went trick-or-treating was 15 years ago.
Jill bought a lottery ticket. The next week she had 20 million dollars.
Michael and Linda got married in 1970. They had a son the next year.
Laura went on vacation in January. The next month she went on another.

Exercise 9: Fill in the blanks with correct year.

Exercise 10: Fill in the blanks with the or ø.