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  1. #1
    henryh is offline Junior Member
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    Default It / this is the first time ...

    Hi again,

    I need some help with the sentences below.

    I'm in the process of driving a car and I want to tell my friend sitting next to me that this happens with me for the first time. What do I say?

    a.) This is the first time I've driven a car.
    or
    b.) This is the first time I'm driving a car.
    or
    c.) This is the first time I drive a car.


    The book suggests I should use a.) to express something I mentioned, but my problem is that I'm still driving when I'm saying it.

    So, why is it a.) then?

    And what if I say: I'm driving a car for the first time. Is it any good?

    Thanks a bunch.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: It / this is the first time ...

    Your book is correct "a.) This is the first time I've driven a car." is the best choice of the three examples given. You may also say; "I am driving a car for the first time." and that would also be correct.

    Common tenses of "I drive"

    Active (Simple Forms)
    Simple Present - I drive
    Simple Past - I drove
    Present Perfect - I have driven
    Past Perfect - I had driven
    will-future - I will drive
    Future Perfect - I will have driven
    Conditional I - I would drive
    Conditional II - I would have driven

    Active (Progressive/Continuous Forms)
    Simple Present - I am driving
    Simple Past - I was driving
    Present Perfect - I have been driving
    Past Perfect - I had been driving
    will-future - I will be driving
    Future Perfect - I will have been driving
    Conditional I - I would be driving
    Conditional II - I would have been driving

    Passive (Simple Forms)

    Simple Present - I am driven
    Simple Past - I was driven
    Present Perfect - I have been driven
    Past Perfect - I had been driven
    will-future - I will be driven
    Future Perfect - I will have been driven
    Conditional I - I would be driven
    Conditional II - I would have been driven
    Last edited by Hi_there_Carl; 01-Dec-2007 at 03:50.

  3. #3
    peter123 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: It / this is the first time ...

    Hi there,

    Is it a must to use 'This is the first time...' all the time. How about 'It is the first time...' like the one in the following example?

    It is the first time I've driven Benz. OR

    pete

  4. #4
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    Default Re: It / this is the first time ...

    a.) This is the first time I've driven a car.
    The sentence implies that over the entire span of your life, this is the first time you have ever driven, but that you may well continue to drive in the future. You would be driving as you say it, since you are using the word, "This" = what I am doing right now.
    Also: It's the first time I've driven a car. Most likely said as you drive, or soon after you have been driving, to the friend who was in the car with you, as a 'confession' - he didn't know you hadn't driven before; OR telling someone else about it straight afterward. However, the use of 'it's' suggests you are standing back, speaking as an observer of the situation. Better to use "this" and be safe!

    b.) This is the first time I'm driving a car.
    As it stands, this is very poor grammar...but
    This is the first time I'm driving a car and nobody's honking their horn at me. Both events, (the driving and other drivers' reactions to your driving), are, and must be, happening together. I don't recommend you use this form. It is very difficult to 'get right', as the form in (a), with "have driven" is really preferable and most often used in speech.

    c.) This is the first time I drive a car.
    Poor grammar. The trouble here is that you have said, "the first time". This immediately relates the listener to the whole period of your life, not just this present moment. Look at the sentence this way: "This is the first time in my whole life..." so you need the 'have driven' construction.
    You could say, This is the last time I drive a car that isn't an automatic - the 'driving' is happening right now, and the 'last time' is happening as you speak.

  5. #5
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: It / this is the first time ...

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    a.) This is the first time I've driven a car.
    The sentence implies that over the entire span of your life, this is the first time you have ever driven, but that you may well continue to drive in the future. You would be driving as you say it, since you are using the word, "This" = what I am doing right now.
    Also: It's the first time I've driven a car. Most likely said as you drive, or soon after you have been driving, to the friend who was in the car with you, as a 'confession' - he didn't know you hadn't driven before; OR telling someone else about it straight afterward. However, the use of 'it's' suggests you are standing back, speaking as an observer of the situation. Better to use "this" and be safe!

    b.) This is the first time I'm driving a car.
    As it stands, this is very poor grammar...but
    This is the first time I'm driving a car and nobody's honking their horn at me. Both events, (the driving and other drivers' reactions to your driving), are, and must be, happening together. I don't recommend you use this form. It is very difficult to 'get right', as the form in (a), with "have driven" is really preferable and most often used in speech.

    c.) This is the first time I drive a car.
    Poor grammar. The trouble here is that you have said, "the first time". This immediately relates the listener to the whole period of your life, not just this present moment. Look at the sentence this way: "This is the first time in my whole life..." so you need the 'have driven' construction.
    You could say, This is the last time I drive a car that isn't an automatic - the 'driving' is happening right now, and the 'last time' is happening as you speak.

    hi,

    "This is the first time I'm driving a car." is not grammatically perfect but i wonder if it is acceptable in a colloquial talk.

    i mean, if i were a native and spoke like that, would the natives whom i were talking to notice the grammar mistake?

    thanks,

    jc

  6. #6
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    Default Re: It / this is the first time ...

    I suppose you could say "This is the first time I'm driving a car" and no one would object or even notice. But it would be careless, unusual, not colloquial.

    "This is the first time I've driven a car" is what a native speaker would normally say.

    wishing you success
    edward

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