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    #1

    Question What is the difference between "first"and "at first" ?

    In my English study ,I meet some problem in grammar. Such ad I don't know the difference between "first"and"at first"I need help from teacher.

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    #2

    Question What is the difference between "first"and "at first"

    What is the difference between "first"and "at first" .i need help.

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    #3

    Re: What is the difference between "first"and "at first"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dongxiaoyu View Post
    What is the difference between "first"and "at first" .i need help.
    Hello. Your question is an important one -- many of my students find it difficult to see the difference between them. The difference is that "first" is used when we are making a list, as in "There are three places in Japan that I want to visit. First, I want to visit Tokyo. Then I want to go to Kyoto. Third, I want to visit Osaka." As you can see, "first" is used for "the first item" in a series.
    On the other hand, the phrase "at first" is used to show a contrast between one situation and another. For example, "At first, I wanted to go to Tokyo, but my friend said it was not so interesting, so I went to Kyoto instead." In other words, "at first" suggests a situation that later changed. That is why it is often followed later in the sentence by "but" or something similar. Here are another couple of examples: "At first, I didn't like sushi, but now I love it." "At first, I felt too hot, but then I cooled down and began to feel more comfortable."
    Anyway, Dongxiaoyu, I hope that the situation is clearer now! When you have questions about English, you can do several things. "First, come to UsingEnglish.com (then go to other sites)!" When you are learning English, there may be many puzzles about how to use words. "At first, it may be unclear how to use words, but if you study hard, it will become clear!" Good luck. :)
    Rick S.

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    #4

    Thumbs up Re: What is the difference between "first"and "at first"

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick S. View Post
    Hello. Your question is an important one -- many of my students find it difficult to see the difference between them. The difference is that "first" is used when we are making a list, as in "There are three places in Japan that I want to visit. First, I want to visit Tokyo. Then I want to go to Kyoto. Third, I want to visit Osaka." As you can see, "first" is used for "the first item" in a series.
    On the other hand, the phrase "at first" is used to show a contrast between one situation and another. For example, "At first, I wanted to go to Tokyo, but my friend said it was not so interesting, so I went to Kyoto instead." In other words, "at first" suggests a situation that later changed. That is why it is often followed later in the sentence by "but" or something similar. Here are another couple of examples: "At first, I didn't like sushi, but now I love it." "At first, I felt too hot, but then I cooled down and began to feel more comfortable."
    Anyway, Dongxiaoyu, I hope that the situation is clearer now! When you have questions about English, you can do several things. "First, come to UsingEnglish.com (then go to other sites)!" When you are learning English, there may be many puzzles about how to use words. "At first, it may be unclear how to use words, but if you study hard, it will become clear!" Good luck. :)
    Rick S.







    Thank you so much.teacher. You teach me so much. Now, I know the difference ,thank you so much. If I have other questions, please help me.

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    #5

    Re: What is the difference between "first"and "at first" ?

    As adverbs, the difference is essentially that 'first' relates simply to the order of events (First you do this, and THEN you do that,...) while 'at first' relates to an earlier stage of something as contrasted with some later development, e.g.

    At first the weather was good, but LATER it turned cloudy.

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    #6

    Re: What is the difference between "first"and "at first" ?

    Please do NOT post the same question twice. I have merged the two threads.
    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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