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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar


132. The Latin Numerals may be classified as follows:—


  1. Cardinal Numbers, answering the question how many? as, ūnus, one; duo, two , etc.
  2. Ordinal Numbers, 1 adjectives derived (in most cases) from the Cardinals, and answering the question which in order? as, prīmus, first; secundus, second , etc.
  3. Distributive Numerals, answering the question how many at a time? as, singulī, one at a time; bīnī, two by two , etc.

II. NUMERAL ADVERBS, answering the question how often? as, semel, once; bis, twice, etc.

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The Ordinals (except secundus , tertius , octāvus , nōnus ) are formed by means of suffixes related to those used in the superlative and in part identical with them. Thus, decimus (compare the form īnfimus ) may be regarded as the last of a series of ten; prīmus is a superlative of a stem akin to prō ; the forms in -tus ( quārtus , quīntus , sextus ) may be compared with the corresponding Greek forms in - τος , and with superlatives in - ισ-το-ς , while the others have the superlative ending -timus (changed to -simus ). Of the exceptions, secundus is a participle of sequor ; alter is a comparative form (compare - τερος in Greek), and nōnus is contracted from † novenos . The cardinal multiples of ten are compounds of -gint- ‘ten’ (a fragment of a derivative from decem ).