She is always first/the first in any competition

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Alvin n, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Alvin n Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain
    She is always first/the first in any competition <-----Example sentence added to post by moderator (Florentia52)----->

    Which option is correct?
    Are both correct and have different meaning?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2018
  2. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    She is always first in any competition. She always wins.
    She is always the first in any competition. She is the first person to join or she is the first person to take part in the competition.
     
  3. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    The version with the definite article could be read to mean she’s always the first to sign up, but it’s ambiguous. It could just as easily mean “She always comes first in (i.e. wins) any competition”.
     
  4. Alvin n Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain
    Thank you

    I asked because in the wordreference inglish/spanish dictionary says:

    first n (first place in a competition) (ganador) primero/a adj
    She's always the first in any competition

    But something doesn’t sound right..so it is wrong or the meaning is ambiguous?
     
  5. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    I think most English-speakers would read that sentence as intended, but that doesn’t alter the fact that it could conceivably be understood another way. It was therefore not the best choice of example.

    The version I suggested in #3 is clearer, and better still would be: “She comes first in every competition she enters.”
     
  6. Alvin n Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain
    Thanks!
     

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