In a PhD thesis, I would like to express that I am the first one who has proved the result. Is it right to say "For the first time we show..."?

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    Grammatically speaking, it is correct, may only need a comma after first time. However, in your context, the sentence will not convey the meaning that you want to. It can mean that you did not prove earlier, not that no one has proved earlier. – Kris Oct 8 '13 at 13:51
  • yes, this is also my feeling. That is why I am asking how to express my meaning. Thanks! – Ginger Oct 8 '13 at 13:52
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    "This work differs from any other published work, in that ..." – Jack Ryan Oct 8 '13 at 14:22
  • If you are the first ones to show something, say just that. "We are the first ones to show..." – RegDwigнt Oct 8 '13 at 15:30

In a paper with multiple authors I would say that this is correct (and almost the only time you would use the active voice), but I just can't see it for a solo work - one author logically fits with I show.

You can always keep to the passive voice ("It is shown for the first time in this work that..."). Also is it the first time - if you have published this result before writing up, you may want to say that ("It was shown for the first time [me et al. 2013] that...")

  • That ambiguity remains, though. (re my comment at OP) – Kris Oct 8 '13 at 13:54
  • @Kris true enough, the usage is common though, as the alternative meaning is not all that helpful (instead you might use *It was shown in chapter 2 that...", and possibly introduce the first use with "An important result, which will be used later...") – Chris H Oct 8 '13 at 13:57

I suggest : "... we were able to show ...", unpretentious for all the others who missed : it suggests not that they were more or less incompetent, but unfortunately not in a position to ..., and that you were fortunate enough to ...

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