How to introduce two arguments in a scientific paper?

I used:

There are two arguments. On the one hand ARGUMENT1. On the other hand ARGUMENT2.

Now I was told I should not use this construct unless I am introducing two contradictory arguments. I was told to rather use:

There are two arguments. First ARGUMENT1. Second ARGUMENT2.

However I actually don't like the second way. Is there any other construct that suits better?

Note: I am not a native speaker therefore I missing some expressions. Probably there is an obvious answer.

  • 1
    "In the first place...", "in the second place..." might serve your purpose. Apr 24, 2014 at 14:49
  • @StoneyB Thanks, that's better than just using first and second :)
    – Robin
    Apr 24, 2014 at 14:52
  • 1
    @mjsqu Do people really use Firstly? That sounds wrong to me.
    – Robin
    Apr 24, 2014 at 14:56
  • 1
    Yes, it is used, but a quick Google search shows that I might be wrong! It is a word, but frowned upon by some.
    – mjsqu
    Apr 24, 2014 at 15:07
  • 2
    “Argument #1, may I please present to you Argument #2. Argument #2, this is Argument #1.”
    – tchrist
    Apr 24, 2014 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


Simply say:

There are two arguments. One is.... The other is...

  • I like that. Easy but effictive.
    – Robin
    Apr 24, 2014 at 15:09

You may start with:

The arguments we present in this paper are two. The first one is about...; the second one deals with.. ..

  • I thought it would be not recommend to use future in a scientific paper? However, this is nice :)
    – Robin
    Apr 24, 2014 at 15:11
  • I used something like: Throughout the paper we present to arguments. As I was told not to use future as well as present progressive. This is due to the fact that at the moment somebody reads the paper the paper is already written. Therefore I am not presenting. Is that wrong?
    – Robin
    Apr 24, 2014 at 15:18
  • "The arguments we present are two" sounds a bit contrived to me (like you are going to make it into a rhyming couplet or something). Why not just "We present two arguments in this paper."
    – user184130
    Jul 29, 2018 at 13:30
  • And, if anyone else is confused by the "future tense" comment, it has been edited out of the answer!
    – user184130
    Jul 29, 2018 at 13:32
  • Some prefer the passive voice in academic writing, so: "Two arguments are presented in this paper. The first is ..."
    – user184130
    Jul 29, 2018 at 13:34

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