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If I want to write the word "n-th" (as in n-th solution, n-th derivative,...), is it more conventional to write n-ый/n-ая/n-ое or n-й/n-я/n-е, or are both styles equally common? In terms of pronunciation, is it always э́ный/э́ная/э́ное (e.g., someone who writes n-я wouldn't actually say that as э́ня)?

EDIT: I found out later that for every variable x it's acceptable to express "x-th" as "xтый" (e.g., m-ый = эмтый, n-ый = энтый, j-ый = житый, q-ый = кутый), and since this works in all cases while the ending -ный for n-ый doesn't apply to variables ending with a vowel sound, I'll use the -тый version.

2 Answers 2

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While both written styles are grammatically correct, the more common one is

n-ый, -ая, -ое, -ые

In addition, you could see sometimes the n- part spelled out in Russian as:

энный, энная, энное, энные

The pronunciation in all cases would be

э́нный / э́нная / э́нное / э́нные

(Note the double н)

pronunciation э́ня is wrong and it's more than likely that people will not understand what you're referring to.

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  • +1 But what about энтый? Would you say it's incorrect? It is definitely common. Jun 25, 2012 at 16:42
  • Aleks G, thanks! Is n-ый declined exactly like частный with the root эн in place of the root част?
    – KCd
    Jun 25, 2012 at 16:45
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    @AleksG: Obviously I mean энтый meaning n-ый, similar to итый, катый, etc. Do you mean to say that you've never heard something like энтый член последовательности? Jun 25, 2012 at 17:03
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    @AleksG: By the way, "n-th root" in the sense of algebra has to be translated as корень энной степени, never as энный корень, right?
    – KCd
    Jun 25, 2012 at 17:46
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    @KCd That's correct.
    – Karlson
    Jun 25, 2012 at 18:44
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The grammatically correct form is only n-й. Acoording to entrenched tradition accretion suffix must be one-letter if the last letter of numeral follows by vowel: 5-й день (пятый день), 25-я годовщина (двадцать пятая годовщина), в 14-м ряду (в четырнадцатом ряду). It must be two-letter if the last letter of numeral follows by consonant: 5-го дня (пятого дня), к 25-му студенту (к двадцать пятому студенту), из 14-го ряда (из четырнадцатого ряда). Spelling n-ый is incorrect, but widely used. Sad but true; it is common mistake. Accretion suffixes for variables also comply these rules.

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  • Thanks. So if the last two letters are xy then you write n-y if x is vowel and -xy if x is a consonant.
    – KCd
    Oct 31, 2014 at 19:04

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