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    #1

    'First' and 'Initially'

    Hello.

    I've been doing some FCE tests online and I have a doubt concerning this sentence:

    Dolls have existed as children's playthings for thousands of years. However, they were .............manufactured as toys in large numbers in Germany in the fifteenth century.

    We were given 4 hypothesis, two of which impossible; the other two were:

    a) first b) initially

    In the key to the test a) was correct.

    So, my question is: Can't we use b) in this sentence? And if we can't, why not?

    Thank you in advance.

  1. Offroad's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: 'First' and 'Initially'

    Mmm... initially does not sound idiomatic to me in that sentence.

    besides that:

    first = for the first time
    initially = at the beginning

    NOT A TEACHER

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    #3

    Re: 'First' and 'Initially'

    I am not a teacher, but I am a native speaker.

    I would have chosen "initially." It's a more elegant word and it is clearly an adverb with the "-ly" ending.

    "First" sounds more clunky to me.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: 'First' and 'Initially'

    Quote Originally Posted by Offroad View Post
    Mmm... initially does not sound idiomatic to me in that sentence.

    besides that:

    first = for the first time
    initially = at the beginning

    NOT A TEACHER
    I agree, for the reasons you've given.

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    #5

    Re: 'First' and 'Initially'

    Hi Maria Teresa, I think the two words "first" and "initially" are different in meaning obviously. You should try looking up them. The choice between two words depends on the meaning of the sentence, as in your sentence, the "first" is more suitable than the "initially" although two ones are also grammatically correct.


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    #6

    Re: 'First' and 'Initially'

    This is a very subtle and challenging question; I am a teacher and a native speaker, and my first thought was that either would be correct. After reading the sentence over a few times, however, I think "first" is better.

    "First" implies that they are still manufactured as toys in large numbers in Germany, but now other nations do the same. Germany was the first country to do so.

    "Initially" implies that they are no longer manufactured as toys in large numbers in Germany. Perhaps they are manufactured in large numbers in Germany for other purposes (collectors?) or they are now manufactured as toys in Germany but only in small numbers, or they are still manufactured as toys in large numbers, but not in Germany anymore.

    Both sentences are grammatically correct, but the first makes more sense. Why wouldn't dolls be manufactured as toys in large numbers in Germany today?

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