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Suppose we have a sequence of elements, for example of fruits on a shelf. Let's say I want to ask about the position of the apple in the sequence. The answer, of course, is an (ordinal) number. But what is the question I should use?

I construct tables with data and often there's a name of an element in one column and in the other column there's the ordinal number of the element. The column has got its name. Its name should be short and clear. A short question which the value (the ordinal number) responds to would be a proper name.

I have an impression that the name "Which" sounds bad because "which?" is a question one would ask if there was a small set of possible answers (for example "red, blue, green" or "first, second, third"). Here the ordinal number might be much bigger. "WhichOne" sounds like the better version of "Which", but still having the same problem. "WhichNumber" sounds extremely childish and in fact the answer to the question "Which number?" should be a (regular) number, not an ordinal number. "WhichInTheOrder" doesn't sound bad to me but I'm not sure if a native speaker would ask a question like "Which in the order is the apple?".

What would be the correct and specific question to ask in order to receive an answer like "The apple is 10th".?

  • "In which position is the apple?" But it's unclear what you are asking. If it is about a concise column heading, I would put Position. – Weather Vane Oct 16 '19 at 9:28
  • It would be extremely useful if you could give an actual example table. – Mike Brockington Oct 16 '19 at 11:39
  • I like WhichPosition as @WeatherVane suggested – Smock Oct 16 '19 at 12:28
  • I did not suggest 'WhichPosition'. It is unusual to put 'which' as part of a column heading. That's the point of having a table: so you can just list information, and people understand how it works. Similarly you would head a column with 'Fruit' and not 'WhichFruit'. It looks silly. – Weather Vane Oct 16 '19 at 12:29
  • @MikeBrockington For example: Apple | 1 Pear | 2 Tangerine | 3 Banana | 4 – musialmi Oct 16 '19 at 15:40

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