I wonder if there is a way to refer a range of ordinal numbers.

For example, I am tempted to rephrase a sentence like

"depending on the situation, people after somewhere between 10th to 90th will not get the book. The number of books is expected to be a few tens."


"~ people after a few ten-th will not get the book".

But I think there is no such expression. Such expression is often used in my mother tongue. So I wonder if there is a proper way to state such situation in English.

  • Not exactly the same, but you could use "only the first few dozen people" for the same general meaning.
    – Davo
    Mar 8, 2017 at 12:13
  • No, but within context, your example might actually be OK. Words are invented all the time-ish (case in point :)). Mar 8, 2017 at 12:13
  • 1
    Actually, I don't think I would use an ordinal. I would just say "after the first few tens of people..."
    – stangdon
    Mar 8, 2017 at 12:14
  • A side note: 'between' takes 'and' and not 'to.'
    – Maulik V
    Feb 6, 2019 at 2:55

1 Answer 1


I don't know any way to ordinalise a range, phrase or approximate value (so to speak) in English, and I'm a native speaker. It would all be much more phrasal constructions.

Using "tens" like that in English gets unwieldy, by the way. If you use "dozens" it is much more natural and needs fewer words.

So, you would probably want to say "the first few dozen will be able to get the book, but anyone after that will not", or something like that. It keeps it cardinal, but you get a similar effect in this instance to an ordinal by using first. You could say "first few tens of" rather than "first few dozen", but it would, as I've said, seem unnatural. You could also say "first ten to ninety", which sounds a little odd as it is language that sounds precise, but with an extremely imprecise range. Alternatively, "first tens of" is also not strictly wrong, but it would seem utterly bizarre in most contexts.

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