benissimus wrote:In older English texts (such as the ones you can download on this website) you will see "Chapter the Third" and such. I think "Chapter Three" is a newer convention, possibly from an ignorant misreading of "Chapter III" as "chapter three" rather than "chapter the third", but that's just a guess.
Perhaps the simplest explanation is that expressions like "Chapter the Third" do not fit the larger patterns of English usage. If you think about it, ordinals usually precede the noun they modify: the ninth inning, the third quarter, our 43rd president
. Cardinals, when used to describe a noun, come after it: Area 51, Slaughterhouse-Five, District 9.
One can always chalk up a historical change to "ignorance," but usually more insight can be gained by looking at the broader structures of the language and seeing what internal logic is being followed.