If you are wondering what ‘first off’ means and how to use it correctly, you have come to the right place.
According to Merriam-Webster, ‘first off’ is an adverb that means “in the first place: before anything else.”
It is often used to introduce the first of a number of things that you want to say. For example, “First off, I want to thank everyone for coming today.” In this case, ‘first off’ is used to introduce the first topic or point of discussion.
‘First off’ is an informal phrase commonly used in American English. It is often used in casual conversations and less formal writing. It is not typically used in academic or professional writing.
Collins English Dictionary defines ‘first off’ as a phrase with a clause that introduces the first of a number of things that you want to say. For example, “First off, I need to apologize for my behavior yesterday.” In this case, ‘first off’ is used to introduce an apology.
Take note that ‘first off’ is an adverb and is often used at the beginning of a sentence. It is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘firstly’, ‘first of all’, or ‘foremost’.
Here are some examples of how ‘first off’ can be used in a sentence:
- First off, let me introduce myself.
- First off, I want to say that I am sorry for what I said earlier.
- First off, I want to congratulate you on your promotion.
Origins and History
‘First off’ is an idiomatic expression that means “in the first place” or “before anything else.” The phrase has been in use since at least the late 1800s, and its origin is not entirely clear. However, some sources suggest that it may have originated from the world of horse racing, where the term “first off” referred to the starting line.
Another theory is that the phrase may have been inspired by the behavior of a bird called the “first off.” This eponymous bird was known for being the first to leave its nest in the morning, and its name may have been used to describe someone who is quick to take action or make a decision.
Regardless of its origins, first off has become a common expression in English, used in both formal and informal contexts. It is often used to introduce a list of items or ideas, or to emphasize the importance of a particular point.
Usage in Different Contexts
Using the phrase “first off” in different contexts can convey various meanings. Here are some examples of how the phrase can be used:
- Admitting something: You can use “first off” to admit something before going into details. For instance, “First off, I have to admit that I made a mistake.” This usage is usually followed by an explanation or clarification of the mistake.
- Starting a conversation: “First off” can be used to start a conversation or a speech. For example, “First off, I want to thank you all for coming today.” This usage is often followed by an introduction or a brief overview of what will be discussed.
- Expressing an opinion: You can use “first off” to express your opinion on a particular subject. For instance, “First off, I think that the new policies are a step in the right direction.” This usage is often followed by an explanation or a justification for the opinion.
- Indicating priority: “First off” can also be used to indicate priority or importance. For example, “First off, we need to address the issue of the economy before we can move on to other matters.” This usage is often followed by a list of priorities or a plan of action.
- Starting a list: You can use “first off” to start a list of items or tasks. For instance, “First off, we need to buy the groceries, then clean the house, and finally do the laundry.” This usage is often followed by a list of tasks or items that need to be completed.
Now that you have a clear understanding of what “first off” means and how to use it, let’s take a look at more examples of “first off” in sentences.
- First off, let me say congratulations on your new job!
- First off, I want to apologize for being late to the meeting.
- First off, I’d like to thank everyone for coming to my birthday party.
- First off, let’s discuss the main points of the presentation.
- First off, I have to say that I disagree with your opinion on this matter.
Remember, “first off” is a casual expression and should be used appropriately. It’s not appropriate for formal writing or presentations. However, it’s a useful phrase for everyday conversations and informal writing.
Using “first off” can help you to organize your thoughts and communicate more effectively. By using this phrase, you can signal to your audience that you are about to make a point or address a topic.
Keep practicing and using “first off” in your own sentences to become more comfortable with this expression.