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I ended up being dragged in a very heated debate with a (self-proclaimed) native speaker after a friend posted the following comment on the internet:

"... At last, I've been approved for something. That's a first for my kind." (last part referring to his homosexuality)

Now, his first claim was that "a first for my kind" was not proper English, and that there was no such expression. We've been accused of many different things, including making random sentences and calling it English. This is seriously getting on my nerves as I don't like being made to feel like an impostor so I'm asking for help.

Sentence: Being approved for something was a first for my kind.

  1. Is this grammatically "proper" English?
  2. Does it sound natural?
  3. In a similar situation, would a native speaker (be it from US, GB or any other place) formulate their thoughts using such a sentence?
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    No problems in the sentence. Being approved was a first, it was new, it was the first time that happened to his category (as he sees it). – Yosef Baskin Apr 8 at 19:37
  • Out of context, the wording "approved for something" (vs. something specific) seems a little odd to me, like no one of their kind was ever approved for anything before. But I suppose the "something" is known: "I've been approved--the first of my kind!" I have no problem with that wording, whether it's common or not (US, SE Region). – KannE Apr 8 at 20:04
  • "like no one of their kind was ever approved for anything before". That was exactly what he was going for (dramatizing it, obv.) – beta-Carotene Apr 8 at 20:10
  • OIC, hyperbole, that makes sense; and late edit: the first for my kind, not of. – KannE Apr 8 at 20:27
  • 2
    Seems valid to me, given the surrounding context. There might be better ways to express it, but there's nothing particularly wrong with it. – Hot Licks Apr 8 at 21:23
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It’s slightly unusual to refer to people like you as “my kind”, but quite possible. “Your kind” is usually used in a derogatory way. If someone directs a sentence to a person starting with “Your kind...” you would bet it is something insulting. Talking about himself, “my kind” is obviously meant in a positive way.

“This is a first for my kind” means: I am the first one of all people like me who has done or achieved this”. It is perfectly fine English.

“I’ve been approved for something” is also good English. You can be an approved electrician, an approved translator etc. “I have been approved for something” is not something you would usually say, you would mention what you have been approved for.

So the English is perfectly fine. The meaning is a bit unusual, it’s a claim that he is the first gay person in history being approved for anything, which is obviously wrong, maybe meant in a sarcastic way. For example “Wow, you are now an approved translator, who would have thought that’s possible!” "... At last, I've been approved for something. That's a first for my kind." (Sarcastic).

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  • I think this nicely captures the nuance of this expression. – Global Charm Apr 8 at 22:43
  • Thanks a lot. This should shut his homophobic mouth up. – beta-Carotene Apr 9 at 12:41

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