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forth and fourth - the difference

The Quick Answer
Fourth relates to the number four (e.g., fourth place).
Forth usually means forward or onward.

Do not confuse forth and fourth, which sound identical.

Forth

The word forth (without u) is an adverb meaning forward or onward (e.g., from this day forth, bring forth, go forth).  It can also mean come out into view (e.g., Come forth from the crowd).

Examples:
  • Put a cherry on top the first cake, then the second, and so forth.
  • (and so forth = more of the same)
  • I need to be present at the meeting to put my ideas forth.
  • (to make the ideas apparent, i.e., to bring them into view (figuratively))

Fourth

The word fourth (with u) relates to the number four. It can be a noun (e.g., one fourth, i.e., a quarter), an adjective (e.g., the fourth car) or an adverb (e.g., the new driver came fourth).
Quick Test
Select the correct version:



 

Top Tip

Four = Fourth

The word fourth (with u) relates to the number four.

Forth = Forward

The word forth shares the same first three letters as forward.
Beware

Forty Not Fourty

The word forty (which obviously relates to the number four) is not spelt with a u. (This is a common spelling mistake, particularly in handwritten text.)