In 1908 Lord Northcliffe offered a prize of £1000 to the first man who would fly across the English Channel. Over a year passed before the first attempt was made. On July 19th, 1909, in the early morning, Hubert Latham took off from the French coast in his plane the 'Antoinette IV'. He had travelled only seven miles across the Channel when his engine failed and he was forced to land on the sea. The 'Antoinette' floated on the water until Latham was picked up by a ship.

Two days later, Louis Bleriot arrived near Calais with a plane called 'No. XI'. Bleriot had been making planes since 1905 and this was his latest model. A week before, he had completed a successful overland flight during which he covered twenty-six miles. Latham, however did not give up easily. He, too, arrived near Calais on the same day with a new 'Antonette'. It looks as if there would be an exciting race across the Channel. Both planes were going to take off on July 25th, but Latham failed to get up early enough. After making a short test flight at 4.15 a.m., Bleriot set off half an hour later. His great flight lasted thirty seven minutes. When he landed near Dover, the first person to greet him was a local policeman. Latham made another attempt a week later and got within half a mile of Dover, but he was unlucky again. His engine failed and he landed on the sea for the second time.

His engine failed and he landed on the sea for the second time.

Can I use the second time instead of for the second time

What is the difference between them?

  • It depends very much what you mean. Can you provide a little more context for this sentence.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 6:49
  • Also, we would usually say "in the sea", unless it is a seaplane and he is actually landing on the surface of the water.
    – stangdon
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 13:53
  • @JavaLatte I edited it. Thanks for reply.
    – Y. zeng
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


You could say:

His engine failed and he landed on the water a second time.

Or you could say:

His engine failed and he landed on the water for the second time.

I don't think you can say the second time without the for. That would mean the airplane only landed on the water after the second time the engine failed. Most likely, this is not what you mean.

Second time takes an indefinite article, because it's not something specific that is known to the user. But when you use the article "for," you are making the second time a specific, known instance, and therefore you should use "the" instead of "a." Yes, kind of confusing, but there are many examples of this in English:

Touched for the very first time.

For the last time, I'm asking you to turn down your music!

  • I am still confusing about the difference among a second time, the second time and for the second time. May you teach me in easy words and more detailed?
    – Y. zeng
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 14:01

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