Hi all..

please explain me what is difference between first and firstly when we are using it with a verb..

first learn ............

firstly learn .........
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Comments  (Page 3) 
In the UK 'firstly' etc are widely used and are in no way obsolete. In my opinion the use of 'first', 'second' etc is a little more directive/ blunt in tone.
Many writers, especially of scientific and educational literature, use 'First' as opposed to 'Firstly'. 'First' is surely an adjective (He crossed the line first, it was his first drink of the day) wheras 'Firstly' is an adverb (charachterized in the orthodox fashion, with -ly on the end) such as 'he ran very quickly' or 'he moved silently through the undergrowth'.
You would not say 'He ran quick' for you are meant to be describing the verb, not the noun!

Hence, when 'First' is used as an adverb it is wrong. It really irratates me to read it being used as, for example 'First, a stimulus opens sodium channels in the membrane' . This is wrong as you are descrbing the action of 'opening' (which is a verb) so it has to be an adverb - if the author had said 'The first thing to happen is the opening of...' then that would be correct, as an adjectival usage - you are desrcibing the "thing" and not the action of opening.
Ergo, 'First' should not be used as an adverb, out of simple respect for the English language, if nothing else!

However, with reagrd to lists:
'First; what do you think of X?' is a simplified way of saying 'My first question is; what do you think of X?' as you are implying a reference to the noun (the question) and not to any verb.
In the same way, 'Firstly, what do you think of X' is merely a condensed form of 'Firstly I ask' (or alternatives).

Thus, in this condensed form in the context of a list, it is reasonable to accept 'First' or 'Firstly'.

Thanks. Apologies for the rant and for being exceedingly pedantic!
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I think firstly, secondly are more common in British English. From what everybody has written First, Second etc. are also fine. However, I think if you were writing an essay and wrote first, second and then final it would sound really strange, or is this just me? Don't think I have ever seen final written like that in a text.
You will, in contemporary American English, rarely find recreational material and even more rarely technical material, using FIRSTLY, SECONDLY, etc... It's just not used here. But to the point of a previous poster, which ever path you choose, its important to stay consistent with or without the -ly .

Thats just my 2 cents... or pence... Emotion: giggle
Beware of self-appointed prescriptivists.

"'First' is surely an adjective (He crossed the line first, it was his first drink of the day) wheras 'Firstly' is an adverb....

Wow. What a self-contradictory example.

He finished early. He finished late. He finished first. He finished last. He finished exhausted.

Please tell me why these modifiers are not all "how" words, modifying "finished"..

Of course, the other use of "first" in the orignal post is indeed adjectival. Many words function as both adjectives and as adverbs, including all those in my own examples.

The early bird.catches the worm.
Late students will report to the principal's office.
The last one in is a rotten egg.
Exhausted runners dropped out of the marathon.

One last thought: The venerable Chicago Manual of Style strongly urges writers to avoid all -ly forms in enumerations. 'Nough said.
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I've never read such a load of misinformed rubbish in my life, Even the Chicago Manual of Style seems to have its stylistic knickers in a twist!
First can be either an adjective , as in" the first man on the moon", or an adverb, as in "he first filled the kettle and then put it on the stove. The form "firstly" is therefore as redundant as "fastly" or "earlyly". It should never be used. Second, third and so on can only be adjectives, not adverbs. Hence, an enumeration of points should proceed: First,...Secondly,...Thirdly,... The exception occurs when there is a definite noun for the adjective to qualify, in which case we need first,...second,...third. An example is" He made three objections (noun):first, that...: second, that...:and, third, that"......
AnonymousThe form "firstly" is therefore as redundant as "fastly" or "earlyly". It should never be used.
Well, COCA has 384 citations for 'firstly', and dozens of reputable dictionaries list it, with definitions such as this - http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/firstly

So, what justification have you, other than your own feeling, for saying that it should never be used?
fivejedjonWell, COCA has 384 citations for 'firstly'
And the BNC has 1,688.
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As the BNC is smaller, this does suggest that 'firstly' is far more common in BrE than AmE. I hadn't realised that.
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