There is a word in Malayalam language 'Ethramathe' which means ordinal status of a person. Instead of asking a lengthy question like:

Where is the person (John) standing in the queue?

It can be directly asked in Malayalam with:

Ethramathe John?

Is there any such word in English language? If not, shouldn't such a word be used in English language?


3 Answers 3


This would be a useful addition to the language, but no such question word exists in English.

"What position is John?" is a short way to express this. In context "Where is John" is also possible.

John says he's queuing for tickets now.

Oh, its a long queue, where is he?

He's fifth from the front, so it shouldn't be too long.

Also "What rank". There is also an expression "Where did you come?"

I finished the marathon

Where did you come?

Twenty-third. I'm quite pleased with that.


There isn't any such word to my knowledge. Should there be such a word in English? Sure, why not! It's a living language being changed by native and non-native speakers alike. It will change on a larger scale if many people adopt the change.

There are of course languages more concise than English. In Japanese it's common to omit personal pronouns, assuming the listener will understand from context—for example, to ask if someone is a student you can essentially just say "student?" (学生ですか [gaku-sei desu-ka]?) rather than the much longer "are you a student?". Should English be like Japanese in that respect? Whether it should or not, it's only likely to change in ways that many speakers adopt.


You could use “number” for this, such as:

  • What number are you?
  • I’m fourth in line.

Unless you’re at a place that gives people tickets with an number on them, in which case they’d give their ticket number:

  • I’m number 4237.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .