Learn English – Which is the correct idiom: “First thing’s first” or “First things first”


I've gotten into a debate over which usage of an apostrophe in the phrase "first thing(')s first" is correct.

My thinking is that one would take the first thing and give it priority, hence the first thing is first, and that thing's is a contraction of thing and is.

Her thinking is that there may be multiple things that need doing first, so the phrase should be "first things first".

What is the correct idiom?

Best Answer

The correct form of the idiom is:

first things first

Things is plural here. You could imagine having a put before the idiom:

  • put first things first
  • let's put first things first
  • you should put first things first

This clarifies the plurality of things. So, her thinking is actually fact!