We use the sequence adverbs "first", "next", "then" and "finally" to describe the order in which two or more actions happen.
- Making an omelette
"First, I break the eggs. Then, I heat the butter in a pan. Next, I add the eggs. Finally, I eat the omelette with toast."
We use a comma after "first", "next", "then" and "finally" when they introduce the sentence that describes the action.
"first": for an action that happens before any others. We can also use "first" at the end of the sentence.
- "I have a lot of work to do. First, I will make a cup of tea."
- "I will make a cup of tea first."
- "next" and "then" can both be used for an action that happens after another action but we usually use:
- "next": for an action that happens immediately after another action, or as soon as possible. We can also use "next" at the end of the sentence.
- "I went to Bolivia on holiday. "Next", I want to go to Brazil."
- "I’m eating breakfast now. I will clean the kitchen "next"."
- "then": for an action that happens after another action if it’s not immediate. We can use "and then" without a comma.
- "Sarah is doing her degree. Then, she wants to be a lawyer."
Sarah will probably not be a lawyer immediately after she gets her degree.
- "They went shopping in the morning and then they went to the zoo."
We don’t know if they went to the zoo immediately after they went shopping.
- "finally": for the action that happens at the end, after any others, or after a long time. We can use "finally" before the verb without a comma.
- "I worked all evening. Finally, I went to bed at 11pm."
- "I worked all evening and I finally went to bed at 11pm."
- "After five years, I finally sold the house."
Complete the sentences with the correct answer from a, b, c or d:
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