0

I know this might be simple, I just can’t solve it with google.

1. The first time I went to America is ten years ago.

2. I went to America for the first time ten years ago.

The use of for the first time is what I found on google, but I don’t know, that sounds a little weird to me.

  • 1
    The first time is fine but you should use was since you're talking about something completely in the past. – green_ideas Sep 8 '17 at 0:00
  • 2
    The first time I went to America WAS ten years ago. I would use “I first went to America ten years ago”. – user61088 Sep 8 '17 at 0:00
  • Ten years ago, when I first went to America, ... – Hot Licks Sep 8 '17 at 0:01
  • It needs to be "the first time I went to America WAS ten years ago". Otherwise, both sentences are perfectly correct. The alternatives suggested in the comments here are also correct, but might not be the right way to arrange the sentence in certain contexts. Not all the alternatives have the same connotation as your examples. – filistinist Sep 8 '17 at 0:44
1
  1. The first time I went to America is ten years ago.

Example #1 here has one mistake -- The event of you going to America occurred in the past, and so the verb "is" must be conjugated in the past tense. Therefore:

The first time I went to America was ten years ago.

...and as for the other example:

  1. I went to America for the first time ten years ago.

This is actually correct.

Consider the following as an introductory sentence structure, as well:

Ten years ago, I went to America for the first time.

EDIT: Thanks to Edwin Ashworth for the point-out/correction.

  • 'I went to America for the first time ten years ago.' and 'Ten years ago, I went to America for the first time.' are not fully interchangeable. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 8 '17 at 0:31
  • How not so? Can you show the difference in meaning or nuance between these two sentences? – psosuna Sep 8 '17 at 0:50
  • 1
    The difference is in emphasis. If asked "Did you get caught up in Hurricane Katrina?", you could respond "No. I went to America for the first time ten years ago", but 'Ten years ago, I went to America for the first time." is more of an introductory (or climactic) sentence. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 8 '17 at 9:24
  • That was a good example. Thank you, I actually hadn't thought of that! I'll edit my answer to reflect this – psosuna Sep 8 '17 at 19:06
0

Example 1 is not correct because of the presence of the past adverbial phrase ten years ago, just like He is in America ten years ago is not correct.

In the sentence, the subject is the clause The first time I went to America; the predicate complement is ten years ago which is also a past adverbial referring back to went, the verb in the subject clause. So, the verb should be was to go with the past adverbial.

The sentenced can be rephrased in the present tense with the use of since.

It has been ten years since I went to America for the first time.

The example 2, I went to America for the first time ten years ago is grammatical.

A similar discussion is here on the ELL stackexchange.

  • The sentence with the use of since is more like empathizing that ten years has gone, isn’t it? – ryuu Sep 8 '17 at 3:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy