Today, I AM WEARING ice skates for the first time (ever).

Yesterday, I WORE ice skates for the first time (ever).

Tomorrow, I WILL WEAR ice skates for the first time (ever).

with the phrase 'for the first time', versus

Today IS the first time I HAVE (ever) WORN ice skates.

Yesterday WAS the first time I HAD (ever) WORN ice skates.

Tomorrow WILL BE the first time I WILL HAVE (ever) WORN ice skates.

with the phrase 'it is/was/will be the first time'.

Are these tense changes correct? If they are, how come they occur, since the situations described remain the same exactly, irrespective of whether you use 'for the first time' or 'it is/was/will be the first time'?

  • Ever is implied by using first time, not by the perfect construction. – Robusto Feb 21 at 9:04
  • @Robusto: Never mind 'ever', that's not what the question is about, that's why it's in brackets! – user58319 Feb 21 at 11:45
  • It's not the position of the first time that requires the changes. You've also changed today to today is. – Peter Shor Feb 21 at 15:22
  • I don't think I understand what the question is. I am wearing isn't describing the same situation as I have worn, and I don't see why "the first time" matters. Couldn't you just take that out to simplify the question? I am wearing; I wore; I will wear; I have worn; I had worn; I will have worn (the parts you capitalized) - these are correct conjugations. – pabrams Mar 7 at 6:04
  • @pabrams: If you are doing something for the first time, then it is the first time you have done it! Why the change of tense, since the situation is the same exactly?! That is what the question is about. – user58319 Mar 12 at 20:34

One of your premises, "the situations described remain the same exactly", is incorrect.

The situations described by your first set of sentences is not quite the same as those described by your second set of sentences. For example, "I am wearing" is not the same as "I have worn"; the first implies you are currently wearing something, and the latter implies that you are no longer wearing it.

If you want to change the position of that phrase without altering the meaning, there are other ways, like, for example, instead of:

Today, I AM WEARING ice skates for the first time ever.

you could say

Today, for the first time ever, I am wearing ice skates

or, somewhat awkwardly, in my opinion:

I am wearing ice skates today, for the first time ever.

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