The word "second" is an ordinal number, but it’s also a unit of time.
- There are 60 seconds in a minute.
- It takes just a couple seconds for a web page to fully load on a computer.
- Television commercials are normally fifteen or thirty seconds in length.
- You have only seconds to react when driving a car.
As an ordinal number, use second when something else is first.
- Gary and Linda are expecting their second child.
- This is the second time this week we didn’t get our mail.
- It’s a good idea to have a second key in case your first key gets lost.
- A cat fell from a second-story window and survived the fall.
- Jill’s apartment is on the second floor. (In the U.S., The second floor is above the ground-level floor, which is the first floor.)
- Cheryl is unhappy with coming in second when she competes in a race. She always wants to come in first.
- The cake that Yasmin entered in the bake off came in second. She received a second-place ribbon.
When asking for a person’s time, or when asking someone to wait, you can use the word "second."
- Can I talk to you for a second?
- This will just take a few seconds.
- I can help you, but just give me a second.
- Hey, wait a second.
- Just a second.
The word "second" is used when asking for additional food
- When Don finished all of his dinner, he got a second helping of food.
- He got a second helping.
- He got seconds. (seconds = a second amount of food)
- Would you like seconds? (Do you want an additional amount of food?)
The word "second" is used when there is a nominating process at a meeting. When a person "seconds" something, he or she is in vocal support of it.
- The nomination of a new committee chairperson was seconded by one of the members.
- A motion introduced at the meeting was seconded and then finally approved by everyone.
- I second the motion.
If something is second, it may have been used by someone else first, or if something is second, it comes after something original:
- We bought a second-hand couch.
- Grizella got a good deal on a wooden desk that was second hand. (second hand = used; not new)
- A second-hand account of the story did not include all of the details found in the original story.
- After running almost five miles in the marathon, Roger felt like he got a second wind and easily completed the race. (second wind = a feeling of additional strength or power)
Learn more vocabulary here.
May 9, 2018