‘3rd’ or ‘3th’: Which is Correct?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on December 28, 2023

Do you need to know whether '3rd' or '3th' is correct? I can help you!

Here is a quick answer in case you are in a hurry: 

  • '3rd' is the correct numeric abbreviation of the ordinal third.
  • '3th' is a grammatical error that you should avoid using. 

The above answer will help you decide which spelling to use. However, there is much more to learn. So, if you want to learn why '3rd' is correct and '3th' is a grammatical error, read the rest of this guide.

Which is Correct, '3rd' or '3th?'

Between '3rd' and '3th' only the former term is correct. That is because '3rd' is the correct numeric abbreviation for third, which is an ordinal.

The reason that '3rd' is correct is that you always use the numeral followed by the suffix used to make the word form or the ordinal.

Here are some examples of ordinals:

  • One - First - 1st
  • Two - Second - 2nd
  • Three - Third - 3rd
  • Four - Fourth - 4th
  • Five - Fifth - 5th
  • Six - Sixth - 6th
  • Seven - Seventh - 7th
  • Eight - Eighth - 8th 
  • Nine - Ninth - 9th 
  • Ten - Tenth - 10th 

As you can see, the abbreviation following the number always matches the corresponding word.

What Are Ordinals?

An ordinal is a numbered item in a series.

Ordinals are also used for dates.

Here are some examples of ordinals used for dates:

  • January 1st
  • 31st of October
  • The 5th day of November

Ordinals are also used for numbered events, for example:

  • 3rd Birthday
  • 5th Wedding Anniversary
  • 1st Christmas

Definition of '3rd': What Does '3rd' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines '3rd' or third, as an adjective that means:

  • Being next to the second in time or place

It can also mean:

  • The next number after the second in a series
  • The next ranking after the second of a degree or grade in authority or position
  • A forward gear that is next highest after the second in a motor vehicle or engine
  • The last position in a series of three items

'3rd' can also be a noun that means:

  • Number three in a series
  • One of three parts of something
  • Third base
  • The third forward gear position of a motor vehicle or engine
  • A musical interval
  • A tone at the third interval

Pronunciation of '3rd'

Pronouncing ordinals can be especially challenging for people who are learning English as a second language because they are similar to numbers but have slightly different pronunciations.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference. 

Use these phonetic spellings to pronounce ordinals one through ten:

  • 1st (First) - furst
  • 3rd (Third) - thurd
  • 2nd (Second) - se-kund
  • 4th (Fourth) - forth
  • 5th (Fifth) - fif(t)th or fith 
  • 6th (Sixth) - siks(t)th 
  • 7th (Seventh) - se-vun(t)th
  • 8th (Eighth) - ātth
  • 9th (Ninth) - nīn(t)th
  • 10th (Tenth) - ten(t)th

How to Use '3rd'

Although there are numerous meanings of third and '3rd,' there are times when you should and shouldn't use the abbreviation. So, here are some tips to help you determine when and how to use '3rd.'

  • Use '3rd' when you are talking about a date.

For example, you could say:

Appear before me on the 3rd day of January to revisit the case. 

You should not say:

Appear before me on the third day of January to revisit the case. 

You use '3rd' because it makes it easier for the reader to identify the date.

  • Use '3rd' when you are listing an event in a series.

For example, you can say:

We are having her 3rd Birthday party here this weekend.


Happy 3rd Birthday, Angelina!!!


Please join us for the 3rd Anniversary of our restaurant this weekend. Dinner is complimentary and by invitation only. 

  • Use '3rd' when you are listing more than one item in a ranking or series.

As an example, you might say:

We have an excellent team this year. Our batters are ranked 1st, 3rd, and 4th in the league in homeruns.

  • Use '3rd' when referring to a street.

So, you could say:

We are hosting an event this weekend at the underground restaurant at the corner of 3rd St. and 5th Ave. 

Sample Sentences Using '3rd'

Just to be sure you remember the correct form and use of '3rd' read through these sample sentences:


  • We are in 3rd place now, but by the end of the race, we should be able to pass the 2nd place car, and if we are lucky, we might end up finishing 1st.
  • We thought we won, but we ended up finishing in 3rd place.
  • We will only be at that location until the 3rd of December. After that, we will be at our new store on 6th St.
  • You will not even finish 3rd if you turn in that science project. To place, you need to impress the judges.
  • This is the third year that we have entered the competition, and we are still in 3rd place.
  • Please join us to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary.
  • When is your daughter's 3rd birthday? Is it in January or February? I want to be sure to wish her a happy birthday and get her a special gift.
  • Can you give me a 3rd of the pie?

Recap: Which is Correct, '3rd' or '3th'

We reviewed a ton of information. So, here is a recap of what you learned about whether '3rd' or '3th' is correct: 

  • '3rd' is the only grammatically correct numeric abbreviation of third. 
  • '3th' is a misspelling and grammatically incorrect, so you should never use it. 

Ordinals can be challenging to memorize. So, if you need help verifying the correct ordinal form of a numeral, you can verify the accurate spelling here.

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

Each guide gives a brief overview and detailed lesson to help you remember how to use the terms it covers. So, if you are unsure of any terms, check them out before you go.

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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.

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