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  1. Banned
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    #1

    First Love

    Is it standard English to write "first love", when "love" is uncountable, but "first" suggests countability?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: First Love

    Quote Originally Posted by strike2 View Post
    Is it standard English to write "first love", when "love" is uncountable, but "first" suggests countability?
    'Love' in that sense is countable.

    There have been several loves in my life, but Esmeralda will stay in my heart forever. She wasn't my first love, or even my second, but she was, without doubt, the love of my life.

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    #3

    Re: First Love

    Welcome to the forums, strike2.

    'First love' is standard. 'Love' can be countable or uncountable.

    See meaning #3 below from the COED:

    love
    noun
    • 1 an intense feeling of deep affection.■ a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.
      ■ affectionate greetings.


    • 2 a great interest and pleasure in something.


    • 3 a person or thing that one loves.■ Brit. informal a friendly form of address.


      Rover



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    #4

    Re: First Love

    So, I must write "he had a first love at 16", not "he had first love at 16"?

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    #5

    Re: First Love

    Quote Originally Posted by strike2 View Post
    So, I must write "he had a first love at 16", not "he had first love at 16"?
    Hi would say 'he had/experienced his/the first love...' since there is just one first love.

    charliedeut
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: First Love

    I agree, though I have managed to convince several old flames when I have met them later in life that they were my first love. I just hope that my five first loves never get together to compare notes.


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    #7

    Re: First Love

    To describe the first experience of love (not the person), I must then use "a first love"?

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    #8

    Re: First Love

    Not necessarily. In fact, if you want to talk feeling and not person, probably not.

    Write the full sentence and we'll see.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: First Love

    So, both mean the same?

    "he has just experienced first love"
    "he has just experienced a first love"

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    #10

    Re: First Love

    Quote Originally Posted by strike2 View Post
    So, both mean the same?

    "he has just experienced first love"
    "he has just experienced a first love"
    Only the first is natural. My countable 'first love' in post #6 was possible, but I had to think hard before I came up with a convincing context. 'First love' is normally uncountable. As charlie pointed out, people can only have one first love, unless they are deceivers like that rogue in post #6.

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