Fourth vs Forth: How to Choose the Right Word as a Writer

…and so fourth.

You may think I started this piece with the wrong grammar but that is intentional.

We read a lot of grammar errors from acclaimed writers. It is not their fault because they are genuinely oblivious to the correct expression.

Come off that band and read this article for all the information you need to improve grammar and the quality of your work.

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How To Use “Fourth” 

Fourth is used as an adjective to signify the number four in an order.

Therefore, if four people were organized in a row and numbered one, two, three, and four in that order, the first person would be put first, followed by the second, third, and fourth person. 

 As an adjective “fourth” refers to the ordinal number equal to four that falls between “third” and “fifth”. 

For example, he is “fourth in line at the bakery.” 

In baseball, hitting fourth refers to the cleanup hitter, who is usually the best player on the team and is most likely to hit a home run and bring any players on first, second, or third home. 

A fourth gear is widely seen in both automatic and manual transmissions, and it is also a musical interval. 

 Furthermore, the fourth can be used as a word in music.

 As a noun, “fourth” refers to the fourth day of any given month. 

In the United States, July 4th, Independence Day, is generally referred to as “the Fourth.”

“Fourth” can also refer to the final player in a four-person card game or a fraction, such as one-quarter. 

Read also: Dialog vs Dialogue | Meaning, Examples & Difference

 How to Use “Forth” 

The adverb forth shows that something or someone is coming out or moving forward. 

A judge, for example, could order the bailiff to bring forth the prisoner from their present location. 

 “Forth” is an adverb that refers to progress in place, time, or order. When used with verbs such as “bring,” “come,” and “put,” it also means “to the forefront.” 

While ‘holding forth’ refers to speaking for an extended period and ‘setting forth’ refers to giving a full written or verbal explanation of something, the phrase ‘and so forth’ means “and more of the same” or “etc.” 

The Forth River, located in south-central Scotland, is also called the Forth. 

Examples of forth

  •  Sofia liked to hold forth (discussing extensively) on European history whenever she got the chance. 
  •  The expecting father walked the waiting area back and forth. 
  •  Michael began to go into great depth about his background, including his childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, and so forth. 

Examples of Fourth

 In these examples, “fourth” is used as an adjective, adverb, or noun. 

  • Steve batted fourth (batter No. 4) in the top of the ninth inning, with runners at first and third. He was the cleanup hitter. 
  •  Susan arrived at the eleventh hour to make a fourth at bridge (player No. 4). 
  •  Will you be viewing fireworks on the Fourth? 
  •  We split the supper cost evenly, with each of us paying a fourth (25 percent). 

See also: What is 3rd (Third) Person Limited Point Of View?

 Some examples of forth and fourth are as follows: 

  •  Correct: He brought forth his favorite proposal for the project. 
  •  Incorrect: He brought fourth his favorite proposal for the project. 
  •  Correct: She was number fourth in the queue for a ticket. 
  •  Incorrect: She was number forth in the queue for a ticket.

The Difference Between Forth vs Fourth

 Fourth and forth are homophones, meaning they have the same sound but different spelling. This makes it easy to mistake these words.

 Fourth is an adjective. It is the number four in its ordinal form, which runs from third to fifth. 

 The word “forth” is an adverb. It means “onward in time or space, way, forward.” 

 How to Remember the Difference

 “Forth” means “forward” and does not include a “u,” while “fourth” is usually associated with the number 4. This is the easiest way to remember the difference between the two words. 

 Fourth should be easy to remember if you know how to spell the number four. Fourth is an ordinal number associated with four. But, forth is directional which might be onward, or outward. 

Expressions with forth and fourth

What’s the right phrase, ‘and so forth’ or ‘, and so fourth’?

 Use and so forth.

 Is the correct expression ‘back and forth between’ or ‘back and fourth between’?

 Back and forth is correct. 

Should it be ‘set forth in the’ or ‘set fourth in the’?

 ‘”Set forth in the” is the right choice.

 Is the right expression ‘the third and fourth’ or ‘the third and forth’?

 ‘The third and fourth’ is the right phrase. 

Is the expression ‘the fourth and fifth’ or ‘the forth and fifth’?

 “The fourth and fifth” is the right word.

Which is correct, ‘in the fourth century’ or ‘in the forth century’?

 Use ‘the fourth century.’

Synonyms of Forth and fourth

 Some synonyms for forth include forward, off, and onward. 

 Synonyms of fourth are four, quarter, and quadrant

 In Conclusion

Fourth and forth are homophones. They are spelled differently but the pronunciation is the same. Their etymology is different although they both have Old English roots.


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