first, firstly, secondly

first, firstly, secondly
All three of these terms are in acceptable use, but first is more common than firstly. A speaker or writer will often start with first and then move on to secondly and thirdly. Although these -ly words are in respectable use, it is simpler and more economical to employ shorter forms (first, second, third, fourth), especially since these short forms can be used adverbially or adjectivally: "Several points need to be stressed: first (or firstly) there is the matter of money." "Who came in first?" "Let us first (or firstly) consider the refugees." Numbers greater than four usually come after first (the first twenty applicants); numbers smaller than four may precede or follow first (the first three applicants, the three first applicants). Recommendation: drop the -ly forms and always use first, second, third, etc., or one, two, three, etc. No need or excuse exists for such phrases as "first of all" and "second of all." Use first or firstly, second or secondly, and drop the useless of all. See also of all.

Dictionary of problem words and expressions. . 1975.

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  • secondly — See first. See first, firstly, secondly …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • firstly — See first, firstly, secondly …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • first — See first, firstly, secondly …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • first — 1. When used with a number, first (like last) normally precedes it, as in the first three cars. This practice dates from the 16c, when first came to be regarded more as an adjective than as a noun; before that time, it was common to say the two… …   Modern English usage

  • firstly — adverb /ˈfɜrstli/ In the first place; before anything else; first. Firstly, I continue to base most species treatments on personally collected material, rather than on herbarium plants. Secondly, I continue to base my concepts on intensive study… …   Wiktionary

  • first·ly — /ˈfɚstli/ adv used to introduce a statement that is the first in a series of statements Firstly, we need to consider the issue of providing people with affordable health care. ◇ Firstly is chiefly used to begin lists and is usually followed by… …   Useful english dictionary

  • first — first1 W1S1 [fə:st US fə:rst] adj ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(in a series)¦ 2 for the first time 3¦(main)¦ 4 in the first place 5 in the first instance 6 at first glance/sight 7 first things first 8 (at) first hand 9 first prize/place …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • First day on the Somme — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=First day on the Somme partof=the Battle of the Somme (First World War) caption=The Tyneside Irish Brigade advancing on the La Boisselle sector. date=1 July, 1916 place=Somme, Picardy, France result=Indecisive… …   Wikipedia

  • FIRST Lego League — organization [ FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology] . Each year the contest focuses on a different real world topic related to the sciences.cite web |url=http://www.usfirst.org/what/fll/default.aspx?id=390… …   Wikipedia

  • firstly */*/ — UK [ˈfɜː(r)s(t)lɪ] / US [ˈfɜrs(t)lɪ] adverb 1) used for beginning a list of events that happened, or for saying what will happen first 2) used for beginning a list of reasons, arguments etc Firstly, this car looks awful, and secondly, it s… …   English dictionary

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