4

From a sentence written by a student:

It was my first time to visit China.

It sounds wrong to me, but using visiting only sounds slightly better. Which one is correct?

3
  • With this verb, both forms are correct and sound natural.
    – user6951
    Oct 19 '14 at 17:41
  • 2
    I agree, visiting is better, and to visit sounds odd. I have a hard time explaining why, though. Oct 19 '14 at 18:23
  • It was my first visit to China is how most native speakers would say it. Oct 20 '14 at 1:29
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No - that doesn't sound odd at all. In fact it sounds perfectly fine to me.

More examples

  1. It was my first time to stand on a stage and give a speech.
  2. It was my first time to get to see any celebrity in person.

Note the following examples

It was my first time to ride a horse (Here i think you expressing your feeling before you actually rode the horse)

But when you say

It was my first time riding a horse (Here i think you expressing your feeling when you have ridden the horse)

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  • "My first time to stand..." The infinitive is stiffly formal. In casual speech most native speakers would say something like "It was the first time I ever stood on a stage and gave a speech" or "It was my first time ever standing on a stage and giving a speech". Oct 20 '14 at 1:27
  • I've found that to use the infinitive form could make the sentence confusing because your first example can mean either "It was my first time I was going to stand on a stage and give a speech" or "It was my first time I was standing on a stage and giving a speech", so, to get rid of this confusion, I think it'd be much better to use its gerund form as in "It was my first time standing on a stage and giving a speech".
    – GKK
    May 3 '19 at 9:33
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Don't you think to use the infinitive instead of the gerund might be very confusing without context as I've said in my comment?
    – GKK
    May 3 '19 at 9:36

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