When you say “first of all”, must you also mention “second of all”? After all, why would you need to specify “first of all” unless there is something after it to define as second, third, and so on?
In this post, we will address this question.
Does “First of All” Always Go With “Second of All”?
“First of all” does not always have to go with “second of all”, though it should not be said unless you do have multiple points to make. If you only have one point to make, there is no sense in identifying your only point as “the first” point.
Say that you are making an argument with multiple points. If you feel the need to identify each of those points so the person you are talking to knows the distinction between them, you can elect to designate your points by number. This is where you can say things like “first of all” and “second of all”.
Phrases like “second of all” simply translate to “of all the points I have to make, this is the second one”. There’s nothing wrong with that, grammatically. However, it’s also not strictly necessary. There are many others ways to label your points that do not require “second of all, third of all”, etc.
In some cases, it is not necessary to label your points at all. For instance, if you only have one point to make, there is no reason to say “first of all”. After all, that would translate to “of all the points I have to make, this is the only one”. That’s pointless and doesn’t do anything for you or the listener.
So, generally speaking, if you are going to say “first of all”, there must at least be something after it. That can be accompanied by “second of all”, but there are other alternatives. If you do not wish to say “second of all”, below are some suggestions on what to say instead of “second of all”.
Other Ways to Say “Second of All”
Other ways to say “second of all” are “secondly, furthermore”, and “finally”. Each of these options lets someone know that you have started another point separate from the one you initially stated with “first of all”. However, some alternatives only work in certain contexts.
Don’t worry, we’ll cover how each of these alternatives can be used below:
“Secondly” is as close as you can get to saying “second of all”, but in less words. It means the same thing, simply defining your next point as the second one, without indicating how many points you have overall. You can do this with any number, saying “firstly, thirdly, fourthly” etc. Instead of “of all”.
That said, once you have enough points to even get to something like “fourthly”, most people would just be annoyed by your desire to label all of them by number.
- Firstly, I don’t live here. Secondly, if I did, I still wouldn’t listen to you!
- First of all, that’s not my name. Secondly, you should be more polite when asking someone for a favor!
“Furthermore” is a way to separate one point from a previous one. It’s basically a word that means “and then”. It’s important to note that “furthermore” does not specify any number; it does not specifically mean “second, third” etc.
It only means “next in line”. This means you could precede any point with “furthermore” as long as it was not your first point. You could technically introduce every point after the first one with “furthermore”, though that repetition would likely be perceived as odd.
- First of all, I just got here. Furthermore, that was a rude thing to say to me!
- I have no idea what you’re talking about. Furthermore, you have the wrong number.
“Finally” can be used to distinguish one point from the other, but only if it is your last point. This means “finally” could stand in for “second of all”, but it could also stand in for “thirdly”, “fourth of all”, etc. That said, most people would find “finally” weird if you only had two points to start with.
That’s because “finally” somewhat implies that it was preceded by a rather long or exhaustive list. Still, in the strictest sense, “final” just means “last”, and your second point can be your last point if you only had two points.
- Firstly, I’ve never met you. Finally, I wouldn’t want to do that even if I had.
- To start, we don’t have the money. Finally, we have no reason to do that even if we did.
“Moreover” is a word that separates subsequent points from your first one. It’s means “in addition”. You are effectively saying, “along with my first point, there is also this point”. “Moreover” does not necessarily specify a second point, only an additional one.
That means it can be used for a second, third, or fourth point, and beyond.
- That’s a terrible idea. Moreover, we don’t even have the time to pull it off.
- I can’t do that, because I work on Saturday. Moreover, I wouldn’t even want to if I could.
“Also” is similar to some of these other alternatives in that it is a way to simply specify that you have another point. It does not specify which point in the list you are making, only that you have an additional point beyond the first. It can replace “second of all”, but also any other point besides the first.
- I don’t think we have the time to do that. Also, it might be illegal.
- It’s not time to go yet. Also, Abigail isn’t ready, so we have to wait for her anyway.
6. What’s More
“What’s more” is another way of saying “in addition”. It separates a following point from a first one. Like some of the other alternatives, it doesn’t replace “second of all” specifically, but can be used to replace any designation for a point after the first point, including the second one.
- We don’t have enough money to spare on a restaurant. What’s more, we have food at home.
- It’s probably not a good idea to trespass into an abandoned factory. What’s more, it’s illegal.
“Additionally” is a simple way to separate a subsequent point from a first one. It just tells the person that you are talking to that you have more to say beyond the first point you made. You can use it for any point that follows you first one, be it the second, the fifth, or some other number.
- We have plenty of money to go to the movies. Additionally, we have a free weekend, so why not?
- The car has the highest safety rating on the market. Additionally, it gets really good gas mileage.
8. On Top of That
“On top of that” is a casual, informal way to start a new point that is separate from your first point. It just means that there is more that you have to say beyond your first sentiment. It’s not the best choice of words in official or formal scenarios, but it can be used anywhere else.
- You’ve always been a good friend to me. On top of that, I really think the two of us can do this.
- Peter, you always procrastinate on doing your work. On top of that, you don’t try very hard when you do get around to doing it!