My colleague he have two brothers. I want to know, he is first/second/third son of his parents, ie., the order in the family among their siblings.

I can simply ask

Are you first son of your family?

It simply give some predictions, I don't want to that.

Is there a better way to ask the question?


4 Answers 4


You could ask "Are you the oldest child?" (or even "eldest child"). This seems to me to be more natural. Note the use of "the" before the adjective, which you omitted.

Pedants would note that "oldest" implies at least three children. If you know that there are only two children, then you could ask whether the colleague is the older child.


The standard way to ask where in the order of siblings a person was born is

Do you have any siblings?

If the answer is "no" you are done, if the answer is "yes", the follow up question is

What is your birth order?

A person's birth order is thought to be a possible influence on their personality.


You could just ask "Which place are you among your siblings?" If he/she answer first;second or third then you know what number he/she is


I have also heard that we can ask:

What is your para?


How manieth child of your parents are you?

  • 1
    I have only seen para in your previous ELL question, and even dictionary definitions (such as this one) don't indicate this word can be used in a birth-order question. As for your second option, one should at least mention that this would be an extremely informal way of asking the question, and only acceptable in some conversational contexts because English doesn't really have any good way of asking it.
    – J.R.
    Nov 5, 2018 at 11:13

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