first of all

This page is about the conversational phrase first of all

Meaning

You can use this to introduce the first of several things you're going to say.

For example

  • The recruitment officer started the interview by saying, "First of all, tell me about your education."

  • Before telling me I was being fired, my boss said, "First of all, let me say how much we appreciate the work you've done for us."

Note:
"First off" and "first up" can have the same meaning, but they're a little less formal than "first of all" and are mostly used in British English.

Quick Quiz

If you say "First of all", it means you're going to

a. say something for the first time

b. say a very important thing

c. say more than one thing

Contributor: Matt Errey