2

First off, I have no idea and haven't got any context as to the following problem.

I am wondering what is the difference semantically between the followings?

For instance:

First I do something, then...

I do something first, then...

Any comment would be appreciated

  • Please include the study you have done to solve this problem. Or may be any try you made to understand the difference? – Man_From_India Feb 9 '15 at 14:39
  • There is little or no difference in meaning, and both phrases are grammatically correct. If one wishes to avoid starting a sentence with "I', the first would be preferred. – DrMoishe Pippik Feb 9 '15 at 16:32
  • The parallel structure of your sentence is clearer with 'First ..., then ...' than it is with '... first, then ...'. – Sydney May 10 '15 at 22:48
1

First is an adverb in this sentence (it modifies the "I do").

Adverbs can be somewhat flexible where they appear in a clause - before or after the words they modify - if the thing that it's modifiying is a verbal. In text, words that come first in sentence typically have emphasis, whereas in speech, it's how it is said that controls the emphasis. But there is not a great difference in meaning.

The topic was debated hotly between them.

The topic was hotly debated between them.

He ran away quickly. (This has emphasis on "ran away" over "quickly" - unless in speech it is said "He ran away quickly.")

He quickly ran away.

He ran quickly away.

Quickly, he ran away.

He doesn't want to go now.

He doesn't now want to go

Note that this doesn't work for adjectives and as always with English there's exceptions to everything (I can't think of any right now but I'm sure there are.)

Her touch was gracefully pleasant.

Her touch was pleasant gracefully (wrong).

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.