thirdly, fourthly

Discussion in 'English Only' started by LinguaFan, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. LinguaFan Senior Member


    in a formal letter, what is the best way to introduce new arguments? I know that "First of all/ Firstly" and "Secondly" are ok but "thirdly" and "fourthly" are not. What expressions should be used?

    THank you
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    You can use "firstly, secondly, thirdly, and fourthly," but these end up sounding repetitive. Personally, I would vary by using phrases like "in the third place" and "finally."

    Do you really need to number them all? You could also use phrases like "furthermore" and "in addition."
  3. Boston Dude Banned

    English of USA
  4. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If you look in the WR dictionary entry for firstly you will find several threads on this topic.
    As TT suggests, it is a chestnut.

    I can't cope with narrative firstly, secondly, thirdly ... and I believe I described sixthly as intolerable :) But that is personal prejudice.
  6. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    This has been discussed at length, at least a few times (I think), but I'm another who dislikes "firstly" and the whole string of strange numbers that are the logical consequence. :)
  7. Cathy Rose Senior Member

    Northeast USA
    United States English
    Any of my students who used ordinal numbers past "second" were told to develop a vocabulary. It's only my opinion, but I find it's tedious to read ordinals and they get in the way of the information one is trying to convey. I much prefer the aforementioned, next, furthermore, in addition to; however, I find last, finally, or in conclusion, acceptable. The sage on the stage has spoken. :D
  8. LinguaFan Senior Member

    I'm very grateful to all of you:
    firstly, to bibliolept;
    secondly, to Boston Dude;
    thirdly, to Thomas Tompion;
    fourthly, to panjandrum;
    fifthly, to gaer;
    and... FINALLY, to Cathy Rose


    Thank you very much
  9. parap Senior Member

    Mainly US English
    Stylistically, I would say, whichever one you pick, stick with it and avoid paragraphs like: "First, I discuss this. Secondly, I discuss that. In the third place, I discuss the other."
  10. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    I think that is the most important point. :)
  11. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    If you feel strongly that the numbering should be included prominently, perhaps you can actually label your points by staring the paragraphs with the Arabic numerals.
  12. xshortyheartsux New Member

    If I was making arguments i would used next, then, and finally. I wouldn't want to keep repeating numbers.

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