I’ve seen them in the wild, and BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick recently rounded up a collection of them [content warning: profanity] — examples of firstable being used instead of first of all.
It’s #WorldKindnessDay today. So “firstable,” I’m going to refrain from ranting or ridiculing. I rarely rant … on my blog … and genuinely try to never ridicule. My aim, as always, is to kindly bring style and order to the world of writing. Even when it’s not World Kindness Day, I consider myself a kindness conspirator.
So “secondable,” I’m going to kindly point out that — much like the case of should of, would of, and could of (which I wrote about on Copyediting.com) — your ears are tricking you here. When spoken, -able and of all sound very similar, as do of and the contraction ‘ve. But they are not interchangeable. Here are the correct forms:
You could HAVE used first OF ALL and would HAVE used second OF ALL, if you had known. But really, you should HAVE simply gone with first and second.
Or, you could let your points stand on their own, without the unnecessary introductions. First points come first, second points come second, and people are generally smart enough to follow along. Really!
Simply say what you mean, without trying to give it a grand setup or overemphasize it. You will sound less defensive and, if it helps you avoid the unfortunate firstable error, better educated.