At First Or First Of All?  What’s The Difference?

The difference between at first and first of all are- “at first” is a chronological term used to describe a timed event or situation. “First of all” is something that is said in one of two settings: 1) to tell someone in a sassy way the truth about something, 2) used as a chronological term to describe an event.

Definitions And Examples of Using “At First” And “First Of All”

“At first” is a chronological term commonly used by people to describe time and chronological events.  For example someone may say “At first, I had no idea you were so nice.  But once I met you, you turned out to be the coolest person I ever met!”  In this context, “at first” describes someone’s feelings about another before they got to know them.

“First of all” is a term that can be used one of two ways, mostly in the context of this first example:  “First of all, spaghetti is not a side dish.”  Here, the phrase is not only being used as a way to list reasons spaghetti should not be in the meal, but also as a way to establish assertiveness.

First of all” can also be used as a way to describe something that happened chronologically, but not frequently.  For example, one can say, “First of all, it rained.  Then it started lightning and thundering out.”  In this case, “first of all” is simultaneously used to convey a little cynicism mixed with an informative tone of describing a chain of events in chronological order.

Similarities Between “At First” And “First Of All”

Both of these terms are similar in that they include the words “first” in them.  However, both of these phrases are not always used to describe order (first, second, third, etc.).  Both phrases can be used to describe chains of events that have happened, depending on how they’re used by the speaker.

Difference Between “At First” And “First Of All”

These terms are unalike with the fact that one of them (“first of all”) can be used to be very assertive towards someone, while the other would never substitute as an assertive statement to anyone.  Another key difference in both of these terms is that “first of all” can also be used as an introduction statement to a set of instructions.