How do I correctly describe somebody’s position within a ranked list for a competition when their position is not yet final because the competition hasn’t finished yet and so I am showing only the preliminary results right now?

Which of these options are better, and why? Are any of them wrong?

  1. You rank 12 out of 50 participants.
  2. Your ranking is 12 out of 50 participants.
  3. Your position is 12 out of 50 participants.
  4. You are the 12ᵗʰ out of 50 participants.
  5. You are ranked #12 out of 50 participants.

Should those be written out in full as actual English words the way you’d actually say them like twelve and fifty and twelfth and number twelve, or should they instead be written using figures and symbols as I have originally shown in the list? Could the context ever influence how these are preferentially written? For example, a short, rapidly changing scoreboard versus embedded in a longer prose paragraph for a book?

  • 5
    "You rank twelfth out of 50 participants"
    – user81561
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 16:45
  • 3
    You are ranked twelfth out of 50 participants.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 17:05
  • 2
    There are two questions here. One is how to convey the candidate's rank. The other is how to convey that the results (and thus the rank) are 'preliminary' rather than final. The questions are independent of each other. Which of the options (1) through (5), if any, should be used, has nothing to do with the results being preliminary.
    – jsw29
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 20:32

1 Answer 1


Maybe you're looking for provisional, which is used to characterize results that have not yet been certified as final. From Lexico:

provisional: arranged or existing for the present, possibly to be changed later

For example:

Provisionally, you've finished 12th (out) of 50 participants.

Your provisional rank is 12 (out) of 50 participants.

Provisional addresses your desire to characterize a result/position that is not yet final, even though the race has been completed. Some verification/checking needs to be done to make sure the order of finish is correct, that no participant should be disqualified, etc.

Addendum: Given the OP's comment below, one might say, "Based on the current standing (or standings), you will finish 12th (out) of 50 participants. From Lexico:

standing: the table of scores indicating the relative positions of competitors in a sports contest.

You should use standings when you're talking about a number of divisions, conferences, leagues, age groups, etc. For example: "Based on the current standings, you will finish 12th (out) of 50 participants in your age group.

Addendum: Another possibility is leaderboard. From Lexico:

leader board: a scoreboard showing the names and current scores of the leading competitors, especially in a golf match.

  • No, I was mostly looking for a phrase that could be sent to the participants or displayed for the participants of the competition in order to update them on their ranking..My intention was not to say "provisional". I had high hopes for "You rank 12 out of 50 participants", but apparently it's not the best option.. Commented May 25, 2020 at 17:23
  • 1
    You can say “As of now,” “at this time,” or something similar like “your current ranking is” to get across the idea that the competition is ongoing.
    – Xanne
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 2:51

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