John Henry Newman (Cardinal Newman) - Certitudes in Religious Assent, published in The Dublin Review, Vol XVI, London and Dublin, 1871
Julian Huxley - Eugenics and Society, Galton Lectures 1936
Beverley Nichols - Men do not Weep 1941
Part 1 - first(ly) etc
- a. Firstly…, secondly…, thirdly…
- b. First ..., secondly, ... thirdly
First ..., secondly ... the traditional form
Yes, first is certainly the standard adverb.
But is Mr Gwynne really saying second and third can't be adverbs?
- I agreed to speak second. (Oxford Advanced Learner's)
- Second, he failed to make clear his true purpose. (Macmillan)
- Tea is the most popular drink, while coffee ranks (=comes) second. (Longman)
- The second highest peak. (American Heritage - at The Free Dictionary)
- The catcher is batting second. (Dictionary.com)
- There are two good reasons why we can't do it. First, we can't afford it, and second, we don't have time. (Cambridge)
So what about firstly?
firstly it is wrong and secondly it is extremely difficult to implement
Examples of firstly from nineteenth century literature
- Lord Byron - letters, 1816 - 1818 - 3 instances [Google Books]
- Walter Scott - Rob Roy, 1817 [Google Books]
- Walter Scott - Tales of my Landlord, 1833 [Google Books]
- Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre, 1847 [Google Books]
- Anne Bronte - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848 [Google Books]
- Mrs Gaskell - Mary Barton, 1848 [Google Books]
- Charles Dickens - Bleak House, 1853, 3 instances [Google Books]
- Charles Dickens - letters - 5 instances [Google Books]
- Charles Kingsley - Two Years Ago, 1857 [Google Books]
- William Makepiece Thackeray - The Virginians, 1859 [Google Books]
- Charles Darwin - Origin of the Species, 1864 - 6 instances [Google Books]
- Charles Darwin - The Descent of Man, 1871 - 7 instances [Google Books]
Modern examples - Telegraph
- Firstly, not all expats are allowed to bring their families with them to Qatar.
- Firstly the coaches corrected his habit of falling over to the ground after bowling the ball, but that was replaced by a habit of knocking over the stumps at the non-striker's end in his delivery stride. (At first)
- You've seen selfie time-lapses before, but two things make this one particularly special. Firstly, the man's eye's are in the same place in each frame, which shows a true dedication to his art. And secondly, the final 30 seconds... well, just watch them.
- Firstly, the thing about parenting is that it’s a lifelong adventure
- “Talk of buffer zones firstly is not on the table and secondly it is an unrealistic idea by hostile countries and the enemies of Syria,” he added.
Capital Community College
Changing attitudes at Webster's dictionaries
Webster's International (revised) 1898 and 1913 [Archive.org (1898)]
A British perspective
- first, - 7376
- firstly, - 1160
- second, - 3351
- secondly, - 2315