To say something or someone is the best or most we use 最, but how about second, third, fourth best/most etc?

For example:

He's the second most expensive player in football history. He kept the third most clean sheets in the Premier League this season.

What structure should be used to express these ideas?

  • You can go on finding the best answer. In my opinion, it is difficult to translate or match with Chinese word. Chinese culture differ from English culture, most Chinese are willing to congratulate and cheer the best. For some reasons if someone can get the best, people couldn't accept him/her easily. What's more, if he/she always only one step away from the champion, he/she will be named "千年老二". So you just paraphrase it in the sentence or the article and make the best translation for the whole article instead of focusing on the singular word. May 27, 2015 at 9:15
  • answer in dictionaries, i。p。iciba (many examples), also note 2nd,3rd。,nth last 倒数第二,三,n
    – user6065
    May 27, 2015 at 13:58
  • For more explanation see baike.baidu.com/view/1808487.htm It explains how in sports 千年老二 is 一个并不好听的外号. That is, not a good name. Compare the American slogan, which many people dislike but others still use: "Second place is losing. May 27, 2015 at 16:30

3 Answers 3


Ignore the translation for "Most/Best" if it's not the top one
He's the most expensive player in football history
He's the second most expensive player in football history
He's the third most expensive player in football history
You can find it's using "第二贵" instead of "第二最贵"
In Chinese when talking about "最" it usually referring only the top ONE.

  • just to clarify, even when it's the top one, you still should not say 第一最贵. 第几 and rarely go together.
    – Tzu
    May 30, 2015 at 1:40

Second: 第二[名]

Third: 第三[名]


for second sometimes you will see 次 or 亚 like: 次好、次优、亚军

  • 1
    Can you give the whole structure so I can see how to use these words? This is my real problem.
    – 小面包
    May 27, 2015 at 8:48

You can use 伯,仲,叔,季 or 孟,仲,叔,季 to mean first,second,third,forth. These terms come from the ordering of siblings. The first set of 伯,仲,叔,季 is the ordering of male sibilings and 孟,仲,叔,季 is the of the female siblings.

Note that these terms are quite formal. And the original meaning of ordering of siblings is also outdated (it's like some old time Chinese custom where you have everyone's place in family hierarchy specified)

A 成語, 伯仲之間, means that two are equally matched. It means literally "between the oldest brother and second oldest brother". e.g. 今年NBA決賽的兩隊真是伯仲之間啊!

But in your case, @Doubble22's answer is most appropriate. 第+number+adjective is most common expression here.

Edit#1: Also, 冠,亞,季,殿 is more common. It's widely used to refer to first place, second place, third place, and forth place in some competition. The person who got first place, second place, third place, or forth place is call 冠軍,亞軍,季軍,殿軍.

Edit#2: Also in a exam or test, first place, second place, and thrid place is 狀元, 榜眼, 探花. The origin is these are the title given to the first place, second, third in 科舉考試 (if you pass this test you get to become an government official)

Another fun thing is that you can say someone is 名落孫山 if and only if he fail at . The origin of this 成語 is that in the time of 科舉, a guy named 孫山 is the one who passed the test with worst score. So if you're behind him you've failed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.