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Thread: 42nd President of USA - how to ask a question with an ordinal answer.

  1. #21
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    Could
    Which president was Bill Clinton?
    work?


    Tom
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  2. #22
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    Thanks LV4-26.
    Thomas1, that is actually not specific enough, because the answer could be anything. Such as, he was the tallest one or the shortest one etc.
    The answer must be specifically "the 42nd." So the question must ask the ordinal number.

  3. #23
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    I also came up with something, but I'm not totally sure about it.

    Is it possible to say
    "In historical order which president is Bill Clinton?"

  4. #24
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    We have a tendency to ask such questions this way:

    Who was the 42nd president of the United States?

    Orange Blossom

  5. #25
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    Thanks, but what if I don't know if he's the 42nd or 43rd? Your suggestion is more like the answer.

    The real problem is that in turkish we have a specific word "kacinci". If you say "kacinci?", you get the answer "42nd etc..."

    I'm wondering how to properly ask a question so as to get the answer "42nd, 28th etc..."

    Question: "............?"
    Answer: "He's the 42nd."

  6. #26
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    It's rather awkward in English. The question I provided would be one a history teacher would give when quizzing the students about their knowledge of the order of the presidents. The answer in this case is the president's name. The knowledge quizzed is the same: Does the student know the order of the presidents?

    In other situations: If there is someone I know seated in a theater, but I don't know where he is seated I could say:

    "Where is name seated?" And the answer might be "The second row from the front."

    As far as I know, there is no good way to ask a question, especially a stand-alone question, in English which would result in answers that are only ordinal numbers.

    Orange Blossom
    Last edited by Orange Blossom; 24th March 2007 at 6:18 PM. Reason: remove comma in middle of word

  7. #27
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    "Which number president was Bill Clinton?"

  8. #28
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    Perhaps you could preface the question with a statement to show you are thinking about numbers.

    For example:
    "George Washington was the first US president. Which one was Clinton?"

    Like Orange Blossom, I can't think of a good way to ask the question and ensure the right answer without establishing a little background information.

    Edit: except maybe "Which number president was Bill Clinton?" as mgarizona suggests
    Baroque:[adj.] Out of Monet

  9. #29
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    Quote Originally Posted by lablady View Post
    Perhaps you could preface the question with a statement to show you are thinking about numbers.

    For example:
    "George Washington was the first US president. Which one was Clinton?"
    I like this.

    Quote Originally Posted by lablady View Post
    "Which number president was Bill Clinton?" as mgarizona suggests
    Maybe it's just me, but this question sounds awkward and clunky to me. I prefer the earlier solution.

    Orange Blossom

  10. #30
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    Quote Originally Posted by nestor76 View Post
    I also came up with something, but I'm not totally sure about it.

    Is it possible to say
    "In historical order which president is Bill Clinton?"
    Better, in my opinion, is numerical.
    Last edited by lsp; 25th March 2007 at 12:58 AM.
    That's an L (Lsp)

  11. #31
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    What presidential number is Bill Clintion? US Presidents - William Clinton

    MGArizona's "What number president is Bill Clinton?" is clear to me as well.

  12. #32
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Blossom View Post
    Maybe it's just me, but this question sounds awkward and clunky to me. I prefer the earlier solution.

    Orange Blossom
    Sorry to offend your ear, but a quick glance at Google---searching "which number president"--- would seem to back me up.

    (Including the bizarre: "I've decided to ask my boss today which number president Benjamin Franklin was.")

  13. #33
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    Re: 42nd President of USA

    Quote Originally Posted by nestor76 View Post
    Hi, I came across a strange problem and I just can not find a proper solution.

    "Bill Clinton is was* the 42nd President of the United States of America."
    "George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States of America."

    Here, my problem is the bold part, the ordinal number. How can I ask an ordinal number in a question? To be the 42nd or the 43rd etc.. is one of the characteristics of the person. How can I ask that characteristic of that person?

    Thanks.
    Bill is no longer the 42nd President. He lost the present tense when his second term ended. George will lose his present tense when his term ends.

    My answer to your question depends on exactly what you wish to know. If you know the number which relates to one president you might say - "Gerald Ford was the 38th US President - what number was Bill Clinton?"
    If you don't know any of the numbers, you might need to say "How many American presidents were there before Bill Clinton?"

  14. #34
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    Re: 42nd President of USA - how to ask a question with an ordinal answer.

    I think "which/what number president was he?" is what I'd most likely expect to hear (as river and mgarizona). It's clear to my U.S. English ears what the questioner is looking for. My wife suggests, "Which U.S. president was he in sequence?" I think that also works.

    (Just as a side note, there are two ways of counting this "sequential" number. We have some presidents who have served two non-contiguous terms, so some people will count one person as both the 22nd and 24th president, for example, while others will consider it simply a matter of the 22nd president receiving a subsequent non-contiguous term. All this is to say that there may be two "correct" answers to the question being sought here.)

  15. #35
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    Re: 42nd President of USA - how to ask a question with an ordinal answer.

    For some bizarre reason this topic has appeared twice before.
    Why do people want to know how to ask a question that has an ordinal as an answer? Is this little challenge an exercise in a grammar textbook or an exam test paper?

    I've added today's thread to the end of the previous two, so it would be worth reading the earlier posts to see if there is an answer that suits you. As I recall, there was not perfect answer.

  16. #36
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    Re: 42nd President of USA - how to ask a question with an ordinal answer.

    I like these solutions proposed in one of the earlier threads:

    Originally Posted by Chazzwozzer http://forum.wordreference.com/image...s/viewpost.gif
    What do you think about these:
    What number in the sequence of Turkish Presidents does Mr. Sezer occupy?
    and
    What place does Mr. Sezer take in the sequence of Turkish Presidents?
    I have altered the last sentence for a U.S. president:

    What place does Mr. Clinton take in the sequence of U.S. presidents?

    It solicits the desired answer and sounds good too.

    Orange Blossom

  17. #37
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    Re: 42nd President of USA - how to ask a question with an ordinal answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by panjandrum View Post
    For some bizarre reason this topic has appeared twice before.
    Why do people want to know how to ask a question that has an ordinal as an answer? Is this little challenge an exercise in a grammar textbook or an exam test paper?

    I've added today's thread to the end of the previous two, so it would be worth reading the earlier posts to see if there is an answer that suits you. As I recall, there was not perfect answer.
    I think it's more a question of how to express that in English as in my mother language, and as I presume in many others, this question may be clearly posed and you'll get the desired answer.


    Tom
    Please correct my errors! Thanks.
    Corrigez-moi, s'il vous plaît! Merci.
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  18. #38
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    Re: 42nd President of USA - how to ask a question with an ordinal answer.

    As the Bush's could well be setting up a dynasty how about "regnal number"?

  19. #39
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    Re: 42nd President of USA - how to ask a question with an ordinal answer.

    Depending on grade level (grade 6 students for example), I think "What number president was Mr. Clinton" should do fine. "What place does Mr. Clinton take in the sequence of U.S. presidents", as Orange_Blossom suggested, sounds fine as well for older students.
    There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. -Calvin

  20. #40
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    Re: 42nd President of USA - how to ask a question with an ordinal answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas1 View Post
    I think it's more a question of how to express that in English as in my mother language, and as I presume in many others, this question may be clearly posed and you'll get the desired answer.
    Tom
    Thanks Tom. I hadn't thought of that. How very curious.

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