‘2nd’ or ‘2th’: Which is Correct?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on December 18, 2023

If you are wondering whether '2nd' or '2th' is correct, this guide will help!

Here is a short answer, in case you are in a hurry: 

  • '2nd' is the grammatically correct numeric abbreviation of the ordinal second
  • '2th' is a grammatical error that should never be used. 

So, there is the answer. However, there is much more to learn about ordinals like '2nd.' So, keep reading!

Which is Correct '2nd' or '2th?'

When it comes to whether '2nd' or '2th' is correct, '2nd' is the correct abbreviation for the word second. 

Second is an ordinal, which means it is ranked number two in a series or group. When you create abbreviations for ordinals, you add the numbers and the suffix used to create the word term, for example:

  • First - 1st
  • Second - 2nd
  • Third - 3rd
  • Fourth - 4th
  • Fifth - 5th
  • Sixth - 6th
  • Seventh - 7th
  • Eighth - 8th
  • Nineth - 9th
  • Tenth - 10th

As you can see, the second is the only ordinal that uses the nd suffix.

What Are Ordinals?

Ordinals are numbered series, rankings, or numbered groups.

Definition of '2nd': What Does '2nd' Mean?

'2nd' is an abbreviation of 'second,' which, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is an adjective that means:

  • After the number one position in time or placement
  • After number one in excellence, degree, or value
  • The speed after first on a motor or engine
  • Alternate, other, or inferior

'Second' is also a noun defined as:

  • The position after one in a series
  • 1/60th of a minute
  • A musical interval
  • Second base in baseball
  • The second gear on a transmission or engine
  • A second serving of food
  • Next to the first position in a competition, order, or series
  • A moment or instant of time

'Second' can also be a verb that means:

  • To assist, encourage, or support
  • To endorse an argument or cause
  • To release a soldier from his typical post to join another unit
  • Offer support in combat

Synonyms of 'Second'

  • Minute
  • Instant
  • Flash
  • Wink
  • Reject
  • Throwaway
  • Discard
  • Another
  • Extra
  • Successive
  • Substitute
  • Side
  • Assist
  • Endorse
  • Advocate
  • Talk up
  • Rescue
  • Bolster

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce '2nd'

Whether you are learning English as a second language or working on improving your writing and communication skills, pronunciation is essential.

Knowing how to correctly pronounce ordinals like '2nd' will help to boost your confidence when you are conversing.

So, here is a pronunciation guide for '2nd' and a few other common ordinals.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce '2nd' or 'second':


  • Use these phonetic spellings to pronounce ordinals one through ten:
    • First - furst
    • Second - se-kund
    • Third - thurd
    • Fourth - forth
    • Fifth - fith
    • Sixth - siks(t)th
    • Seventh - se-vun(t)th
    • Eighth - ātth
    • Ninth - nīn(t)th
    • Tenth - ten(t)th

Tips: When and How to Use '2nd'

It is important to know the difference between '2nd' and second. In some cases, the two are interchangeable.

So, here are some tips to help.

  • Use '2nd' or second when you are talking about a portion or member in a group.

For example, you could say:

Sheila was 2nd in line to get tickets for the concert.

  • Use '2nd' to reference a date.

As an example, I might say:

I was born on January 2nd, 1995.

  • Use 'second' when you are speaking about time.

For example, you can say:

I want to know the second Pete gets into the office! 

  • Use '2nd' when you are talking about events or people in a series.

However, you could also say:

Pete was the 2nd person to walk into my office this morning. 

  • Use 'second' to refer to an alternate or supporting role.

For example, you could say:

The lead's second has been practicing the lines diligently, and she is ready to step in if necessary. 

  • Use '2nd' when referencing an event that is recurring, for example:
    • 2nd Birthday
    • 2nd Annual Cookoff 
    • 2nd Anniversary

If you are unsure of whether to use '2nd' or 'second,' you can almost always use 'second.'

Sample Sentences Using '2nd'

Before you leave, take a look at these sample sentences using '2nd.' They will help you remember the correct spelling and how to use the abbreviation of second.


  • We are going to be the 2nd people to walk through the doors.
  • Coming in 2nd is nothing to be upset about.
  • What are you planning for your daughter's 2nd birthday?
  • We are going on a vacation this summer to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary.
  • You are the 2nd person to ask me where I got my sweater. But you can't buy one because my grandma made it.
  • When I heard the 2nds version of her story, I knew she was lying.
  • Welcome to the 2nd Annual Company Retreat. We are so happy you are here!
  • You should enter the contest. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners receive a cash prize.


  • Get over here this second!
  • Do you know how many seconds it took her to reach 60 mph?
  • I second that decision. We should definitely switch to four-day work weeks.
  • The baseball player made it to second before the other team was able to get a double play.
  • Can you hold this for a second? I need to grab a few more ingredients.
  • You have to take a second for yourself from time to time.

Review: Which is Correct, '2nd' or '2th'

You should be an expert on the topic now, but here is a quick recap of what you learned about whether '2nd' or '2th' is correct: 

  • '2nd' is the grammatically correct numeric abbreviation of second. 
  • '2th' is a grammatical error you should avoid using. 

Remembering the correct way to abbreviate ordinals may be tough at first. However, if you ever need a reminder, you can always return to this post to review this lesson.

You can also learn about other ordinals and commonly misused, misspelled, and mispronounced terms in the confusing words section here.

Each post contains a brief overview of the topic and a detailed description with definitions, examples, grammar rules, and writing tips. So, they are an excellent way to expand your vocabulary and verify the meanings of tough terms.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.