2

How to correct?

I would like to say:

It's the first English lessons.

But my teacher says it should be:

It's the first English lesson.

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  • Your teacher is right.
    – hjpotter92
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 19:18

1 Answer 1

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Your teacher is correct.

The words "It is the first" implies there is only one – the very first one. "It" is a singular pronoun; coupled with the definite article, it's pretty clear we are only talking about one English lesson. Therefore, we should use the singular.

We could alter the wording slightly, though, and the sentence could use the plural. Let's say we're not talking only about Lesson 1, but Lessons 1 through 4, out of 50 lessons total. In that case, we could say:

Those are the first English lessons.

but notice how, in talking about more than one lesson, the sentence has shifted from the singular to the plural. That is why "It is..." has been changed to "Those are..."

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  • 1
    Or you might say, "This is the first of the English lessons."
    – Jim
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 19:25
  • @Jim - Excellent point. The preposition changes the structure of the sentence entirely, where the first part can be in the singular, and the prepositional phrase can reference the plural. Or that can be reversed, too: "Those are the last in the line."
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 19:29

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