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They are both correct to use, however, when the word "firstly" comes to mind I believe it's used traditionally and to list things. When you use "first" it could mean you are denoting a proposition before anything else.


Context matters, and seems missing from the question. I’d suggest that “hundreds” flows from years pronounced this way. 1776, the year, is pronounced “seventeen seventy six” and 1800 would follow the same pattern, going with “eighteen hundred” and not “one thousand eight hundred”. Even for a box of 1,235 buttons, I’d imagine a student using the ‘year’ ...

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