'76st' or '76th': Which is Correct?

By Katie Moore, updated on November 19, 2023

‘76st’ or ‘76th’: Which is correct? We most often associate numbers with mathematics and counting, but they appear just as often in our writing as well. This article will help you understand how to incorporate numbers more seamlessly into your writing and speaking. 

In a hurry? Here’s a little preview of what’s to come:

  • ‘76st’ is the improper way to write something occurringg occurring 76 times
  • ‘76th’ is the correct way to write something  for the 76th time

What’s the Difference Between ‘76st’ or ‘76th’? Which is Correct?

As mentioned above, the correctly written form is ‘76th’, and while we could simply end the article here, we wouldn’t know why this is the correct form. So, let’s explore numbers a bit more to get a better understanding. 

The truth about ‘76th’ is that it is actually an abbreviation — a shorthand form of a word or phrase that is typically used to simplify writing — meaning the addition of letters on the end actually comes from a longer word. In fact, the ‘th’ at the end of ‘76th’ isn’t an addition at all, but rather a reflection of the full spelling of ‘seventy-sixth’.

This tells us where the abbreviation comes from, but not why it couldn’t be ‘76st’ or ‘76th’. The answer lies in the spelling of the full words.

How Spelling Translates to Numbers

 Let’s start with the written forms of first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, etc. Looking at the fully spelled words, pay attention to their endings:

  • First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on.

Now compare those highlighted endings to the correct numerical forms of the words:

  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and so on. 

Notice how they are the same? So, in this case, understanding the correct written numerical form means knowing how to write the full word or say it aloud. While this helps us understand part of the issue, we have to remember that 76 isn’t a single-digit number which may add a layer of complication. 

Fortunately, the expansion into double-digit numbers doesn’t affect the abbreviated ending. In fact, you could have an infinite number of digits, and the ending would still only be determined by the final digit. 

  • So, in our case, the ‘seventy’ before seventy-sixth doesn’t affect the pronunciation, and as long as the written ‘sixth’ ends with the “th” then the abbreviated number will do the same. 

Now that we have an understanding of how numbers and writing combine, let’s make sure we actually know what ‘76th’ means. 

Definition of ‘76th’: What Does it Mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, ‘76th’ or ‘Seventy-sixth’ is an adjective that means:

  • Being number 76 in a countable series
    • “This was the 76th day of the year.”
  • Being one of 76 equal parts into which something is divisible
    • “He was owed a 76th share of the money.”

Meanwhile, as a noun, the word ‘76th’ or ‘seventy-sixth’ can also mean:

  • Number 76 in a countable series
  • The quotient of a unit divided by 76; one of 76 equal parts of something
    • “One seventy-sixth of the total.”

Note that the word ‘76th’ is the ordinal form of the number seventy-six, describing a person or thing in position number 76 of a sequence. But what does ‘ordinal’ mean exactly? Let’s learn a bit more. 

Ordinal Forms of Numbers

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Ordinal Numbers’ are:

  • Numbers defining a thing’s position is a series, such as “first,” “second,” or “third,” and they can be used as adjectives, nouns, or pronouns

If you pay attention to the construction and spelling of the word ‘ordinal,’ you’ll notice how it stems from the term “order,” as in the sequence in which things go. So, when you want to say someone is number 76 in an order or line, they would be labeled in their ordinal form, ‘76th’. 

Pronunciation of ‘76st’ or ‘76th’: Which is Correct? 

While knowing how to correctly write the abbreviated form is important, it doesn’t give us the best base for learning pronunciation if we don’t know how to say the full number. Follow the guide below to learn to correctly say ‘76th’ aloud

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘76th’ as a guide:

  • ‘Seh-vehn-tee Sihx-th’ (note that the two ‘e’ sounds in seventy are flat like “red,” but the ‘y’ sound is wide like “bee” and in a sixth note that the ‘th’ sound needs to be purposefully enunciated as separate from the ‘x’)

Note that when you try and pronounce ‘76st’ it will sound unfamiliar and incorrect on the tongue:

  • ‘Se-ven-tee sihx-st’ (the ‘st’ ending doesn’t match the written form of the sixth)

How to use '76st' or ‘76th’ in a Sentence

We’ve covered most of the bases in learning this new abbreviation, but the final step is feeling confident using it on your own. The sample sentences below will give you a sense of how to use this word in a variety of contexts. 

‘76th’ Example Sentences

  • For their grandmother’s 76th birthday, they had ordered her favorite chocolate mousse cake and a bouquet of seventy-six roses. 
  • He was set to compete in the 76th annual hot dog eating contest at the county fair and had been practicing for it all year. 
  • She was initially disappointed about being seventy-sixth in line for ticket sales until she realized there were hundreds of people behind her. 
  • The Philadelphia 76ers basketball team did a promotional giveaway for the person who bought the 76th set of season tickets for the year. 
  • He had been practicing his presentation so much that he felt he must have been on his 76th run-through at this point. 
  • She was allotted one seventy-sixth of the company’s shares, but because of all her hard work, she thought she deserved a larger portion. 

‘76st’ or ‘76th’ Example Sentences

  • The elementary schoolers were practicing their ordinal numbers, and the teacher kept having to correct those who said ‘76st’ instead of ‘76th’.
  • He was editing the paper when he noticed the typo where someone had written ‘76st Annual’ instead of ‘76th Annual’.
  • The child had a slight speech impediment that made his numbers sound like ‘76st’ instead of ‘76th’ when he said them aloud, even though he knew the correct spelling. 

Final Advice on Using ‘76st’ or ‘76th’

If there is one major takeaway from this article is that you should simply not use the term ‘76st’. But you’ve also learned how written numerical forms relate to their full words and how abbreviations depend on the last letters of the word. When in doubt, practice saying your numbers aloud because they will help you find the correct written form.

Need a little recap? Here’s a review of what we covered: 

  • ‘76st’ is the incorrect form of the ordinal number for 76, 
  • But ‘76th’ is the correct written ordinal form and follows the ending of the written word ‘sixth.’ 
  • Ordinal numbers represent numbers defining things in a given position or ‘order.’

Want to learn more about how numbers transfer into language studies? Be sure to check out other confusing word articles where we tackle other ordinal numbers and give you the tools to write and talk about numerical issues. Remember that words and numbers can mix if you are careful to use their proper forms. 

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Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

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