Second or secondly?

This question has been answered · 7 replies
Anonymous:
I am writing multiple paragraphs listing reasons why I should not buy a house. So I start off with first, second, etc etc

Is it more correct to use firstly, secondly, thirdly?
Approved answer (verified by )
And I'd say first, second, third. These are all perfectly good adverbs, so the -ly suffix is redundant and stuffy-sounding.

This is the Random House usage note:

Usage Note:
It is well established that either first or firstly can be used to begin an enumeration: Our objectives are, first (or firstly), to recover from last year's slump. Any succeeding items should be introduced by words parallel to the form that is chosen, as in first . . . second . . . third or firstly . . . secondly . . . thirdly.
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According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

Use first, first of all, or firstly to introduce the first item in a list of two or more points, instructions etc • First, make sure the screws are securely fixed in position. Then attach the wire.

According to American Heritage:

It is well established that either first or firstly can be used to begin an enumeration: Our objectives are, first (or firstly), to recover from last year's slump.

I think it is gramatically okay to use either one, but I remember that my supervisor corrected my usage of "first" to "firstly."
I am not a native speaker of English. Therefore, the above is just for your reference and I hope that native speakers will answer your question.
Full Member415
I remember my teacher telling me that it's better to use it this way: first, secondly, thirdly...etc.

She was half-British-half-Canadian. Emotion: smile
New Member35
Hi Deflected
The following is from 'The Right Word and the Right Time'. I hope you will find the information useful.
There is a traditional rule that when several items or points are being listed one by one, they should be introduced by the words first, secondly, thirdly ... (and also last rather than lastly). 
There might once have been a good reason for discouraging firstly, secondly, thirty, and all the rest, leaving first, second, third, and so on unchallenged. But there cannot be any good reason for the present rule, which discourages only firstly, and there is a very good reason against it: that it creates a needless inconsistency. (Some people restore the inconsistency by reverting to second and third as well as first, rather than secondly and thirdly. There seems to be no objection to this, though it might sound slightly stiff.)
Veteran Member8,073
Personally, I see it this way (aside from the explanation of the dictionary). If we are writing a procedure on how to do certain thing, I would use adverbial numeration system like “first”, “secondly” and so on to specify the sequential order.



To detail /depict a sequence of events, I would use words like; “first”, “firstly” “first of all” and secondly, thirdly, additionally, eventually, subsequently, finally, and so on.





<<< It is well established that either first or firstly can be used to begin an enumeration: Among Our objectives, we must first .....,....to recover from last year's slump. >>>

Senior Member3,816
Anonymous:
I'd say firstly, secondly and thirdly. Emotion: smile
Anonymous:
In American English, it is more typical to use "first," "second," "third," etc.
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