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  1. #1
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    only - word-order; just

    In my language, the word-order isn’t so important (however, it depends..) and so I make mistakes very often. Now, I have a question. I heard a this sentence somewhere: I ONLY KISSED JANE.

    What does it mean? Does it mean that:…?

    1) I was the only one of the (for example) three boys in the house and I did kiss herm while the others didn’t? Or that it was Jane’s first kiss and so I was the only one who has ever kissed her?

    or:

    2) I just kissed her and we didn’t do anything else. Only the kiss.



    And what if I wanted to say that I kissed just/only Jane and didn’t kiss the other girls?

    Is it right to write: „I kissed ONLY Jane.“ ?



    How does the word order of word ONLY influence the sense of a sentence?

    Is it always possible to write JUST instead of ONLY? For example, if I wrote „I kissed just Jane“, would it mean that same as if I wrote „I kissed only Jane“?



    Thanks, I hope my questions don’t seem to you to stupid to answer them.



    Lenka

  2. #2
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    Re: only - word-order; just

    Very advanced question! You are really thinking well.

    First… in these examples, ONLY and JUST are very similar, you could use either.

    ONLY (or JUST) apply to the words that come AFTER them.

    1. I kissed ONLY Jane.
    2. I ONLY kissed Jane.
    3. ONLY I kissed Jane.

    1: I kissed ONLY Jane, I did not kiss Debby, or Susan, or Amy.
    2: I ONLY kissed Jane, I did not kick Jane, or hit Jane, or see Jane.
    3: ONLY I kissed Jane, Tom did not kiss Jane, David did not kiss Jane, I was the single boy who kissed Jane.


    Experiment with your own sentences.

    First, say a sentence.
    Then, put ONLY in front of any word or phrase in the sentence, and see how it changes the meaning.


    The boy buys dogs.


    The boy buys ONLY dogs. He does not buy cats, or birds, or elephants.

    The boy ONLY buys dogs. He does not sell dogs, or rent dogs.

    ONLY the boy buys dogs. The girl does not buy dogs, the man does not buy dogs.


    The girl runs in the street after dark.

    The girl runs in the street ONLY after dark, she does not run in the street before dark, or during the day.


    The girl runs ONLY in the street after dark, she does not run in the park after dark, or in the house after dark.


    The girl ONLY runs in the street after dark, she does not walk in the street after dark, or stand in the street after dark.

    ONLY the girl runs in the street after dark, no one else, ONLY the girl, runs in the street after dark.

    Does that help?

  3. #3
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: only - word-order; just

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert B. Mercer
    Very advanced question! You are really thinking well.

    First… in these examples, ONLY and JUST are very similar, you could use either.

    ONLY (or JUST) apply to the words that come AFTER them.

    1. I kissed ONLY Jane.
    2. I ONLY kissed Jane.
    3. ONLY I kissed Jane.

    1: I kissed ONLY Jane, I did not kiss Debby, or Susan, or Amy.
    2: I ONLY kissed Jane, I did not kick Jane, or hit Jane, or see Jane.
    3: ONLY I kissed Jane, Tom did not kiss Jane, David did not kiss Jane, I was the single boy who kissed Jane.


    Experiment with your own sentences.

    First, say a sentence.
    Then, put ONLY in front of any word or phrase in the sentence, and see how it changes the meaning.


    The boy buys dogs.


    The boy buys ONLY dogs. He does not buy cats, or birds, or elephants.

    The boy ONLY buys dogs. He does not sell dogs, or rent dogs.

    ONLY the boy buys dogs. The girl does not buy dogs, the man does not buy dogs.


    The girl runs in the street after dark.

    The girl runs in the street ONLY after dark, she does not run in the street before dark, or during the day.


    The girl runs ONLY in the street after dark, she does not run in the park after dark, or in the house after dark.


    The girl ONLY runs in the street after dark, she does not walk in the street after dark, or stand in the street after dark.

    ONLY the girl runs in the street after dark, no one else, ONLY the girl, runs in the street after dark.

    Does that help?
    Oh, really thank you so much! It does help! I think I understand it well now, the only problem is to use it fluently and right as well. But I think I will learn it by time. Anyway, I must learn so many other things… Mainly some new words.



    Thank you a lot, Lenka





    (PS: By the way, you could also tell me, if it doesn’t annyo you too much, if I did and wrote some other mistakes – I mean grammar mistakes and so on.)

  4. #4
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    Re: only - word-order; just

    No problem, Lenka.. your English is very good and easy to read... only a few small corrections, but really, your English is fun to read.

    ... I think I will learn it by time.
    ... I think I will learn it IN time.

    (PS: By the way, you could also tell me,
    (PS-By the way, COULD YOU tell me,

    if it doesn’t annyo you too much,
    if it doesn't annoy you too much, (OR, doesn't bother you too much)

    if I did and wrote some other mistakes – I mean grammar mistakes and so on.)
    if I wrote any other mistakes...

    THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANY AND SOME... I'LL START A NEW THREAD EXPLAINING THAT.

  5. #5
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: only - word-order; just

    Thank you.
    You know, I think this is the best way how to improve my English. By being corrected.
    (I hope I wrote it right, this time ;) )

  6. #6
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: only - word-order; just

    And what if I say: "I kissed Jane only"
    - is it correct?
    - what does it mean?

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: only - word-order; just

    = she was the only person I kissed

  8. #8
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: only - word-order; just

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert B. Mercer View Post
    ONLY (or JUST) apply to the words that come AFTER them.

    1. I kissed ONLY Jane.
    2. I ONLY kissed Jane.
    3. ONLY I kissed Jane.

    1: I kissed ONLY Jane, I did not kiss Debby, or Susan, or Amy.
    2: I ONLY kissed Jane, I did not kick Jane, or hit Jane, or see Jane.
    3: ONLY I kissed Jane, Tom did not kiss Jane, David did not kiss Jane, I was the single boy who kissed Jane.
    I've come across an exercise (for (which preposition should I use here?) word order) today - here it is:

    Complete the sentences. Use the words in brackets in the correct order.

    My eyesight isn't very good. I _____________ with glasses. (read / can / only)

    The key (at the end of the book) says "can only read" is the correct answer.

    And my question is, why is only used before the verb read, while the word only (it is an adverb, I suppose, right?) should emphasize "with glasses". => I can read ONLY with glasses - not with a magnifying glass or only my own eyes.
    If say "I can only read with glasses", it sounds to me like "I can use my glasses only for reading - not eating (I can't use it as a spoon or a knife), not cleaning the bath etc.

    So, why is "only" put in front of the verb? Would it be correct to put it before the noun glasses?


    By the way, I'd be really pleased if you could correct my English (all the mistakes I've made in this thread) - it would be really helpful!!

  9. #9
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    retro is offline Member
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    Re: only - word-order; just

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    I've come across an exercise (for (which preposition should I use here?) word order) today - here it is:

    Complete the sentences. Use the words in brackets in the correct order.

    My eyesight isn't very good. I _____________ with glasses. (read / can / only)

    The key (at the end of the book) says "can only read" is the correct answer.

    And my question is, why is only used before the verb read, while the word only (it is an adverb, I suppose, right?) should emphasize "with glasses". => I can read ONLY with glasses - not with a magnifying glass or only my own eyes.
    If say "I can only read with glasses", it sounds to me like "I can use my glasses only for reading - not eating (I can't use it as a spoon or a knife), not cleaning the bath etc.

    So, why is "only" put in front of the verb? Would it be correct to put it before the noun glasses?


    By the way, I'd be really pleased if you could correct my English (all the mistakes I've made in this thread) - it would be really helpful!!
    I think the reason 'only', in your sentence, doesn't come right before the word it goes for is that it's understood your eyesight isn't very good. From that context, it's easy to figure out the meaning of "I can only read with my glasses".

    But let's wait for more from native speakers on this.

  10. #10
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    Re: only - word-order; just

    Hi,
    What Robert explained coincides with the way we use only in Russian – it is placed in front of the word it emphasizes. It might be AmE, because I’ve read it usually comes before verbs.
    Oh, M.Swan does have it, too:

    “Only normally comes before a subject it refers to.
    Only you could do a thing like that.
    When only refers to another part of a sentence,it often goes in mid-position with the verb.
    I’ve only been to India once.

    So I think you only need to stress the word it refers to by means of intonation in order to be understood correctly.
    She only drinks milk.
    There have only been two visitors.

    Regards

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