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In Spanish, the cardinal paradigm constitutes an unlimited group of concepts that provide the numerical measure of a set of entities. It is, therefore, a class of words conceptually unlimited but symbolically and morphologically tight; With a limited amount of signs you can build all the numbers you can imagine.

From the categorial point of view, cardinality can be expressed through SUBSTANTIVES, ADJECTIVES and PRONOUNS.

The forms belonging to this paradigm present, according to their distribution, different functions that also mark their morphosyntax. In prenominal adjectives uses will be considered quantifiers, not when they appear as nouns or postponed adjectives; in this case, its value is that of identification. Pronouns may exercise one or another function, depending on the context.

  1. Tenía dos amigos pero uno nunca se preocupó por él.
  2. El tres de oros era su carta de la suerte.
  3. En la carpeta quince se guardaba toda la información confidencial.

The unmarked value of the cardinals is the quantitative value, which is developed in the adjectives of prenominal distribution and pronouns. Its task is to specify the number of substantive entities of the group they determine.

Sometimes this precision is not literal; some approximate uses of these numerals must be considered within this function -especially in colloquial registers-, whose value is not literal: Te lo he dicho cien veces; Te pido mil perdones.

The other value that the cardinals have is the identification, which is developed in its adjectival versions postnominal, pronominal and substantive. In these cases the cardinal numeral loses its quantifying semantic capacity in favor of another identifier, typical of ordinals. This resource is extremely frequent in the use of the language, especially in computations that exceed the ten ―it is more common the expression planta treinta y una that planta trigésimo primera― although it is a relatively free alternation when it comes to cases in which the amount is low; siglo uno, siglo primero. Perhaps the reason has to do with the fact that the verbosity of the ordinal construction is alien and less manageable for the speaker, who prefers to use the cardinal expression, construction that in informative terms will guarantee its communicative success.

The Números TIP application, consistent with this recognized value, will observe and label the following ordinal uses of the cardinal forms:

  1. Las entradas son para la fila veintiuna no para la veintidós. ADJECTIVE; PRONOUN
  2. Le ingresaron en la planta treinta y una. ADJECTIVE
  3. Las entradas son para la fila veintiuno. SUBSTANTIVE

Grammar review

The formation of the cardinals adopts different solutions in Spanish. Its limited forms allow the construction of all numbers by combination. The roof of this series will be, therefore, in the mil form.

Some numerals have non-segmentable forms, such as those between zero and fifteen, both included, as well as the cardinals that designate the hundreds; cien(to), doscientos, trescientos, etc. In the same way as the article, the masculine numeral one adopts the variant one in the prenominal adjective uses: veintiún días.

Within the less than one hundred, multiples of diez have the ending -nta; treinta, cincuenta, noventa, with the exception of veinte. The remaining numbers are formed by shape coordination; treinta y tres.

From 16 to 29 are written in a single word, in which the conjunction takes the form -i-: dieciséis, dieciocho, etc.

From 30 to 99, the numerals, following the rules of the RAE, are written in different words joined by the conjunction and as in treinta y uno, or cuarenta y cinco. However, in the Lexicon compact forms will be collected as treintaiuno or cuarentaicinco, due to the wide dissemination of these forms especially in the Spanish of America.

The cardinal numerals greater than one hundred are formed by juxtaposition, without intervention of the conjunction. When one hundred precedes another cardinal it takes the form hundred, so that one hundred will be said. The apocopated form will be used when the hundred is preceded by another numeral; mil cien.

The thousands are formed with the numeral mil as multiplying but, unlike the hundreds, it is invariable and is written as an independent word: dos mil agentes, veintiséis mil euros, ciento veinte mil afectados.

Regarding the FLEXION, some adjectives have a gender flexive capacity; un/a and its derivatives, treinta y una, ochenta y una, etc. and those that are formed on the compositional basis of -ciento (between 200 and 999).

The adjectives do not have number flexion, which will be by axiom the plural. The form un(o) is excepted, which is singular and cero, which will be plural when quantifying accounting names; cero libros, but not when quantification is done on abstract names; cero entusiasmo.