2

If we start with the sentence:

"This is the first time I've touched a dolphin."

It can be rewritten in these ways.

1) This is my first time to touch a dolphin.

2) This is my first time touching a dolphin.

Some textbooks say that sentence 1) is wrong, but I see this kind of sentence a lot in textbooks in my country. Also I don't see sentence 2) very often. I'd like to know if I can use either or both of these two sentences instead of the original sentence.

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    I agree with your books about 1) being wrong. I have no problem with 2). It makes sense that you don't see it very often, though, because you'd only say it in that tense while you were touching the dolphin, and it's hard to write while you pet a dolphin. :^) Later, when an author would recount the experience, she would switch to the past tense: "That was my first time touching a dolphin." – J.R. Apr 30 '15 at 10:06
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    @J.R. Why is 1) wrong? Does it have something to do with the verb to touch there are examples like 'this is my first time to serve as a chairman' or 'This was my first time to drive a car' or does it depend on the context? – Lucky Apr 30 '15 at 15:21
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    @tennisgirl - Those are fine, except I think you can leave out the word "being" in #2: "This is my first time in the U.S." – J.R. Apr 30 '15 at 18:55
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    I categorically disagree with @J.R. To me, This is/was my first time to drive a car/smoke a cigarette/have sex is greatly preferable to the alternative. Likewise, Sentence 1 (with either is or was) is preferable to Sentence 2. – user6951 May 1 '15 at 17:24
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    All three versions sound okay to me! :) – F.E. May 2 '15 at 4:11
0

If we start with the sentence:

"This is the first time I've touched a dolphin."

Then the correct way to 'rewrite' the sentence is to remain in the present perfect, ie

1a) This is my first time to have touched a dolphin.

2a) This is my first time having touched a dolphin.

Both sentences are grammatical. I greatly prefer 1a. It's hard to imagine saying 2a.

As for your original "rewrites"

1) This is my first time to touch a dolphin.

2) This is my first time touching a dolphin.

I also greatly prefer 1 here.

And neither 1 nor 2 have to be said at the moment of the touch. For example, if one is on a dolphin-spotting boat as part of an activity that lasts several hours, then either 1 and 2 can be said either before or after the actual touch, as part of talking about the entire experience that has (or is) lasting several hours. In addition, 1a can be said anytime after the actual touch. While, again, 2a seems to me unlikely to be said, and almost as unlikely to be written.

  • I'm getting very confused. Some textbooks say that using "to infinitive" is wrong, but here you say this is correct. The best way of saying is,"This is the first time I've touched a dolphon." Maybe I should stick to that. – tennis girl May 2 '15 at 1:12
  • Maybe this sentence is much more complicated than I thought. – tennis girl May 2 '15 at 1:27
  • There are some verbs after which we do not use to infinitive, such as enjoy, discuss, dislike; there are some verbs after which we do not use the -ing form, such as plan, hope. – user6951 May 2 '15 at 14:32

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