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Twelfth vs. Twelve — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 22, 2024
Twelfth refers to the ordinal number corresponding to twelve, indicating position in a sequence; twelve is a cardinal number, representing the quantity itself.
Twelfth vs. Twelve — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Twelfth and Twelve


Key Differences

Twelfth is used to describe the position of something in a sequence, like the twelfth item in a list, highlighting its rank. On the other hand, twelve denotes the actual count of items present, emphasizing quantity rather than order.
In terms of usage, twelfth appears in contexts where order and precedence are important, such as twelfth place in a competition. Whereas twelve is used in counting or quantifying objects, like having twelve apples.
Grammatically, twelfth is an ordinal numeral, modifying nouns to depict sequence. Conversely, twelve is a cardinal numeral, primarily used for stating quantity and is often used in mathematical contexts.
When considering pronunciation, twelfth adds a complexity due to the combination of 'f' and 'th' sounds, making it slightly harder to articulate. Meanwhile, twelve is straightforward, with a clear and simple pronunciation.
In literature and formal writing, twelfth might be used symbolically or to emphasize a significant sequence, such as "the Twelfth Night" by Shakespeare. Twelve, however, might appear in broader contexts, including statistical data or numerical information.

Comparison Chart

Type of Number

Ordinal numeral
Cardinal numeral


Indicates sequence
Indicates quantity

Example Usage

Twelfth player in a team
A dozen eggs (twelve)

Pronunciation Complexity

More complex ('f' and 'th')
Simpler ('tw')

Common Contexts

Rankings, sequences
Counting, quantifying

Compare with Definitions


Pertaining to the number twelve in a sequence.
She finished in the twelfth position.


The sum of eleven and one.
She bought twelve new books.


One of twelve equal parts.
He drank the last twelfth of his coffee.


A dozen.
He handed out twelve flyers.


In fractions, one twelfth (1/12).
One twelfth of the cake was left.


Used to signify the total number of items.
Twelve people attended the meeting.


The ordinal form following the eleventh.
The twelfth chapter of the book was exciting.


A numeral, 12, representing this number.
There are twelve months in a year.


Occurring next after the eleventh.
Her twelfth birthday was a grand affair.


Represents a complete cycle, as in hours.
The clock struck twelve at noon.


The ordinal number matching the number 12 in a series.


The cardinal number equal to the sum of 11 + 1.


One of 12 equal parts.


The twelfth in a set or sequence.


The ordinal form of the number twelve, describing a person or thing in position number 12 of a sequence.
The answer appears on the twelfth page of the book.
She finished twelfth in the race.


The twelve original disciples of Jesus.


One of twelve equal parts of a whole.
A twelfth of 240 is 20.
Five twelfths of the population voted in support of the proposal.


The books of the Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures.


(music) An interval equal to an octave plus a fifth.


The cardinal number occurring after eleven and before thirteen, represented in Arabic numerals as 12 and in Roman numerals as XII.
There are twelve months in a year.


Next in order after the eleventh; coming after eleven others; - the ordinal of twelve.


A group of twelve items.
Fractions would be a little easier if we counted by twelves.


Constituting, or being one of, twelve equal parts into which anything is divided.


A twelve-bore gun.


The quotient of a unit divided by twelve; one of twelve equal parts of one whole.


A jury (normally composed of twelve persons).


The next in order after the eleventh.


(slang) The police; law enforcement, especially a narcotics officer.


An interval comprising an octave and a fifth.


Front front side of something, position in front of something.
Watch your twelve


Position 12 in a countable series of things


One more that eleven; two and ten; twice six; a dozen.


Coming next after the eleventh and just before the thirteenth in position


The number next following eleven; the sum of ten and two, or of twice six; twelve units or objects; a dozen.


A symbol representing twelve units, as 12, or xii.


The cardinal number that is the sum of eleven and one


Denoting a quantity consisting of 12 items or units

Common Curiosities

What are common contexts to use twelve?

In scenarios involving counting, like stating the number of items or people.

Is there a difference in pronunciation between twelfth and twelve?

Yes, twelfth has a more complex pronunciation due to the 'f' and 'th' sounds.

What kind of literature might use the term twelfth?

It can appear in historical or symbolic contexts, such as in titles like "Twelfth Night."

Can twelfth and twelve be used interchangeably?

No, they serve different purposes; twelfth is for order, and twelve for counting.

How is twelfth used in writing?

It's used to indicate position or sequence, such as in rankings or lists.

What is a real-world example of using twelve?

Stating the number of eggs in a dozen: "I bought twelve eggs."

Why might someone use twelve in a statistical report?

To represent data points, like the number of units sold.

Is twelfth commonly used in everyday conversation?

It is less common and more specific, often related to order or ranking.

What is the main grammatical difference between twelfth and twelve?

Twelfth is an ordinal numeral (indicating position), while twelve is a cardinal numeral (indicating quantity).

What does the expression "twelve o'clock" signify?

It refers to either noon or midnight in everyday terms.

How do you write one twelfth as a fraction?

It is written as 1/12.

Can twelve be used symbolically in literature?

Yes, it can symbolize completeness or a perfect cycle.

Does the complexity of pronouncing twelfth affect its usage?

Potentially, in spoken language, simpler terms might be preferred.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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