Is It “I Second That Notion” Or “I Second That Motion”? (Correct Version)

When we use “second” as a verb, we often try to support someone’s suggestion. However, do we use the phrase “I second that notion” or “I second that motion” when we’re saying it? In this article, we’ll discuss the correct version of the two.

Which Is Correct: “I Second That Notion” Or “I Second That Motion”?

The correct version is “I second that motion” because we’re agreeing or supporting a “motion” that someone made. The “motion” is a movement that someone makes to suggest something, and it originates from a parliamentary procedure where people move to make a suggestion.

Which Is Correct: "I Second That Notion" Or "I Second That Motion"?

The definition of “second” as a verb, according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to make a formal statement of support for a suggestion made by someone else during a meeting so that there can be a discussion or vote.”

You don’t always need to include “motion” at the end of the word. The phrase “I second that” is just as impactful to show that you’re in support of something another person put forward.

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Is It Correct To Say “I Second That Emotion”?

There is another phrase that some people mistake with “I second that motion.” “I second that emotion” is close to the original word, only adding an “E” at the start of the word “motion.” However, it is not correct.

It is not correct to say “I second that emotion” because it doesn’t mean anything. You can’t second an emotion someone else has (meaning you can’t support something that someone else is feeling, even if you’re feeling it yourself).

The reason so many people believe it is a term is thanks to a 1967 song by Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland, which is entitled “I Second That Emotion.” Other than that, there’s no major usage of the phrase, meaning it isn’t something that is commonplace in English.

What Does “I Second That Motion” Mean?

It’s great that we now know that “I second that motion” is the correct phrase, but it doesn’t help us much until we know what it means.

“I second that motion” means that we support the move that someone else has made. In this context, a “move” is an idea that someone has put forward, usually in the hope of gaining votes and support for it before taking it further and acting on it.

It’s most closely related to parliamentary proceedings, where politicians would make moves to improve the government or come up with new ideas. It’s then up to the other politicians in the room to “second” the motions that they believe to be right, meaning they’ll support them.

Usually, when you say, “I second that motion,” you’ll add more to the end of it. You’ll try to either justify your decision of “seconding” it, or you’ll elaborate as to why other people should also choose to second it.

“I Second That Motion” Vs. “I Second The Motion”

When we want to use the verb “second” in a sentence in this way, we use “that” when we’re talking about the most recent thing we heard. We use the phrase “I second the motion” in a more general sense to talk about a motion we heard previously but not straight before.

“I second that motion” is a great phrase that really emphasizes which motion you’re talking about. “That” works to emphasize that you’re supporting the most recent motion you’ve heard. “I second the motion” is used to more generally support a motion, but not the most recent one.

For example, the following sentences may apply for each statement:

  • I second that motion!

This is an exclamation that works well after just hearing a motion someone put forward. It means you’re more than happy to support it and have strong feelings about it.

  • I second the motion I heard earlier about helping the poor.

While this one is still a great way to show your support for somebody’s idea, it’s more general. We refer to “the motion” as something we’ve heard previously, whereas “that motion” is something we’ve heard directly before we announce our support.

How To Use “I Second That Motion” In A Sentence

Let’s go over a few examples so you can see how we might use “I second that motion” in a sentence. We’ll included a few motions beforehand so you can see when someone might use it as an exclamation, as well as a few other variations of it.

  • I say that we advance on these issues without wasting any more time.
  • I second that motion!
  • I think we should discuss the possibility of a new war if we’re not careful.
  • I second that motion!
  • I second the motion about adoptive procedures being streamlined for new parents.
  • We need to discuss the new governmental procedures!
  • I’d like to second that motion and add a few of my own points!
  • Let’s talk about your grades, young man.
  • I second that motion; you should listen to your mother.

As you can see, it’s mostly used to talk about political matters or other ideas worth supporting. However, you can also find people using the phrase when they’re simply agreeing or supporting a statement someone else has made.

Synonyms For “I Second That Motion”

Finally, let’s go through some synonyms for the phrase to see what we might be able to use. If you’re unsure about the meaning or whether to use “notion” or “motion” correctly, one of these might be better for you.

  • I’m in favor

If you say you’re in “favor” of something like a motion, it means you’re willing to show your support for it, just like saying you “second the motion.”

  • I support that idea

This is a more generic saying that’s used outside of the world of politics. It’s a good synonym, and you’ll find it’s better used in casual situations as you get with friends and family.

  • I agree

You can simply “agree” with somebody instead of saying “second that motion.” It helps to get to the point straight away and show that you’re supporting someone’s idea.