The results of constant load creep tests on AISI 304 stainless steel at 873 and 973 K for different test conditions were found to obey the first order kinetics for tertiary creep. Distinct master creep curves were obtained at 873 and 973K with a separate set of constant values of K′, εt, β′ and CMG. A relationship between steady-state creep rate ε̇s, time spent in tertiary creep tt and limiting tertiary creep strain εt is formulated as ε̇s·tt/εt = constant and is found to be valid for all test conditions. Further, this relation is identical to the modified Monkman-Grant relation (MMGR) for the conditions satisfying f = 1/λ; it is postulated that the validity of MMGR is a consequence of first order kinetics. Another important outcome of this study is a generalised relation of the form ε̇s·tr = (ε23·εf)1 2; and this relation is compared with the relation proposed by Radhakrishnan, i.e. ε̇s·tr = (ε223·εf)1 3. It is suggested that cavities act as vacancy sinks and accelerate dislocation climb controlled recovery process leading to tertiary creep. Copyright © 1996 Acta Metallurgica Inc.