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In ST:TNG 523 "I, Borg" Picard meets Hugh. When Picard asks his Borg designation, Hugh responds that he is "Third of Five," using an ordinal number. On the other hand, in ST:VGR, Seven of Nine's designation is--well, that. It's a cardinal number, rather than the ordinal "Seventh of Nine." There are probably a bunch of other examples throughout the various series that I can't think of off the top of my head.

Is there an in-universe reason for the difference in designation? Or, for that matter, is there an out-of-universe explanation for the inconsistency?

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    Perhaps Hugh was being universally translated, whereas Seven was almost certainly speaking Earth Standard English, as was every other drone we meet. – Valorum Jun 19 '20 at 7:00
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    Also, Seven was picked up in another end of the galaxy. Maybe Borg cubes moving apart from each other slowly evolve nomenclature. – Klaus Æ. Mogensen Jun 19 '20 at 8:00
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    Seven's full name is Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One which does kinda suggest that she was an "officer" and not just a "grunt" – SpacePhoenix Jun 19 '20 at 8:50
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    Or maybe Hugh’s designation was 1.6666667 which he thought sounded dorky. – Graham Lee Jun 19 '20 at 11:47
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    Unit Seven from a Group of Nine is the Seventh of Nine. Perhaps the Borg communicate that in a manner that doesn't translate literally into spoken language, e.g. Array and Index, Unimatrix01.NineDroneSquad[7] – Chronocidal Jun 19 '20 at 12:48

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