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Thread: just x only

  1. #1
    gisele Guest

    Default just x only

    Hi,

    Two days ago, one of my students, Julia, said something that I found a bit puzzling (and somewhat aggravating too!). I had always assumed that when it's possible to use "only" in a sentence, the adverb "just" is also (maybe not always but most of the times) a valid option. Julia told me, however, that when she was speaking to an American lady the other day, the erudite nitpicker frowned upon the use of "just" in a certain sentence. The sentence was something like, "This class is just on Thursday", which sounds fine to me, especially considering my student’s well-meaning attempt to establish a modicum of communication with the American lady, who can’t say a word in Portuguese, let alone string a sentence together. The lady rephrased Julia’s utterance, emphasizing the necessary change: "Oh, you mean, the class is ONLY on Thursday". As I listened to Julia with interest, the first thing that crossed my befuddled mind was “…hmm…”

    .. Hmm indeed! Okay, maybe “just” is the wrong choice after all, but hey lady, and I would add, as we say in Portuguese, “pô, na boa” – literally, “*gee, in the good* ”, which roughly means, “excuse me, what I’m about to say is by no means intended to offend you, simply to call your attention, in a good-tempered spirit, but I really have to say it, if only to get if off my chest!”) - how dare you speak to Ju like that? Ju is such a nice, and mind you, super clever girl. As a matter of fact, even if she were a complete simpleton, you still shouldn’t be so hoity-toity; no one deserves to be treated scornfully! Appearances can be rather deceptive, you know; we all have so much to learn from one another! I’m sure that your great scholarliness notwithstanding, in umpteen ways you’re no match for savvy, resourceful Ju! (“ Ufa ”, I feel better now; in Portuguese, “ufa” functions like a short onomatopoeic word to indicate a sigh of relief; by the way, what is the English equivalent? Does anyone know where on the web I can find a good list of onomatopoeic words in English?)

    Well, to cut a long story short, my question is: Is it ever possible in a sentence that has the adverb “only”, for it to be replaced with "just"?

    Thanks,

    Gisele
    São Paulo, Brazil

  2. #2
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    It's frustrating not to be understood, but it sometimes happen, whether b/c of inadequate vocabularty, mispronunciation etc. I hate it when it happens to me, but I acknowledge that I used to have some English colleagues I hardly could understand when they tried to speak in French. Try not being offended in these situation, unless of course you're obviously facing a b*stard ;)

    FRC

  3. #3
    gisele Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Francois
    It's frustrating not to be understood, but it sometimes happen, whether b/c of inadequate vocabularty, mispronunciation etc. I hate it when it happens to me, but I acknowledge that I used to have some English colleagues I hardly could understand when they tried to speak in French. Try not being offended in these situation, unless of course you're obviously facing a b*stard ;)

    FRC

    Hi François,

    Thank you for your input! I think the bottom line is, live and let live!

    Cheers,
    Gisele

  4. #4
    Susie Smith Guest

    Default Re: just x only

    Quote Originally Posted by gisele
    Hi,

    Two days ago, one of my students, Juliana, said something that I found a bit puzzling (and somewhat aggravating too!). I had always assumed that when it's possible to use "only" in a sentence, the adverb "just" is also (maybe not always but most of the times) a valid option. Juliana told me, however, that when she was speaking to an American lady the other day, the erudite nitpicker frowned upon the use of "just" in a certain sentence. The sentence was something like, "This class is just on Thursday", which sounds fine to me, especially considering my student’s well-meaning attempt to establish a modicum of communication with the American lady, who can’t say a word in Portuguese, let alone string a sentence together. The lady rephrased Juliana’s utterance, emphasizing the necessary change: "Oh, you mean, the class is ONLY on Thursday". As I listened to Juliana with interest, the first thing that crossed my befuddled mind was “…hmm…”

    .. Hmm indeed! Okay, maybe “just” is the wrong choice after all, but hey lady, and I would add, as we say in Portuguese, “pô, na boa” – literally, “*gee, in the good* ”, which roughly means, “excuse me, what I’m about to say is by no means intended to offend you, simply to call your attention, in a good-tempered spirit, but I really have to say it, if only to get if off my chest!”) - how dare you speak to Juliana like that? Ju is such a nice, and mind you, super clever girl. As a matter of fact, even if she were a complete simpleton, you still shouldn’t be so hoity-toity; no one deserves to be treated scornfully! Appearances can be rather deceptive, you know; we all have so much to learn from one another! I’m sure that your great scholarliness notwithstanding, in umpteen ways you’re no match for savvy, resourceful Ju! (“ Ufa ”, I feel better now; in Portuguese, “ufa” functions like a short onomatopoeic word to indicate a sigh of relief; by the way, what is the English equivalent? Does anyone know where on the web I can find a good list of onomatopoeic words in English?)

    Well, to cut a long story short, my question is: Is it ever possible in a sentence that has the adverb “only”, for it to be replaced with "just"?

    Thanks,

    Gisele
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Yes, just and only are synonyms when the meaning is "merely".
    Ufa = Phew

    BTW, do you have a good word for "enrolado"?

    :wink:

  5. #5
    gisele Guest

    Default Re: just x only

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie Smith
    Quote Originally Posted by gisele
    Hi,

    Two days ago, ...

    (... Does anyone know where on the web I can find a good list of onomatopoeic words in English?)

    ... Well, to cut a long story short, my question is: Is it ever possible in a sentence that has the adverb “only”, for it to be replaced with "just"?

    Thanks,

    Gisele
    São Paulo, Brazil

    Yes, just and only are synonyms when the meaning is "merely".
    Ufa = Phew

    BTW, do you have a good word for "enrolado"?

    :wink:

    Hi Suzie,


    First of all, thanks for the “phew”! Yes, it rings a bell now. It’s amazing how I forget things easily! As for "enrolado", well, if you’re from or live in Brazil you probably know that this adjective/noun has sundry meanings in Portuguese, so the best English equivalent really does depend on the specific context. My guess, though, is that you’re not thinking, for instance, about curly hair, or twisted pastry or someone who is entangled in some sort of a fix. I imagine it’s more likely an allusion to my wearisome unobjective preambulary blahblahblahness. ... ... Point taken!


    Sure enough, I admit that I often have trouble going straight to the point. Mostly because, well, to be honest, I generally find curves so much more inviting than straight lines! :wink: I’m not oblivious to the fact, however, that in many situations the capacity to trim all excesses, or as some would no doubt prefer to describe as to just cut the crap, is becoming increasingly more necessary - after all, more than ever, time is short, time is money, so in a sense there is really something disturbingly anachronous about coming across people who, in this day and age, still insist on taking detours when they communicate. Moreover, there’s no denying that brevity is the soul of wit. No wonder I’ve never been particularly good at telling jokes. :(


    And yet, what can I do, I find the lure of making parentheses and adding various hues and nuances and flying off at tangents and just basically getting lost in an interminable maze of words ever so hard to resist. It’s such a delicious journey, as I never know beforehand quite where it will take me. I learn so much in the process – there are bound to be discoveries, sudden déjà-vus, new resolutions...


    Mind you, in no way am I trying to imply that my propensity to stray and miss the target and in general make ill use of time is some kind of virtue. Actually I think one of the reasons I was born, if not my number one mission in this current incarnation, is to learn to be less “enrolada” - hmm, let’s see… enrolada… perhaps you could say, rambling, digressive, abstruse, circumlocutory, tautologous, long-winded, prolix, more like yakking – at any rate, ever so darn enrolada… … No, I’m not proud of it. This inclination to avoid the quickest route may well be at the root of my chronic problem with time and finance management and overall organization… :(


    …Yes, that’s me… … how well I can see me in all my raw ugly congenital frenzied chaos :? … How painfully aware I am of my need to be more direct, more objective, more vapt-vupt, more monosyllabic, more me Tarzan you Jane. More like, 8) hey babe, let’s get down to business and talk turkey 8) - let’s organize and simplify and clear out and recycle and make room for the new and think ahead and forget the pretty colors and all the nonsense and beware of the stark black-and-white net result looming around the corner... Maybe that’s why it’s always difficult for me to keep my drawers tidy, and I’m always carrying the world in my bags, and the megabucks have so far been eluding me... :( ... Sheer and complete lack of focus! Pay Attention, Gisele! Forget the details! Concentrate on what is really Essential ! Come on, you can do it!


    … Yep…


    Anyway, thanks for the “phew” and for the
    "puxão de orelha" (= "*a pull in one's ears"* - Brazilian expression - When you give someone a "puxão de orelha", you're admonishing them, i.e. scolding/censuring them, telling them off. In my original text, posted yesterday, September 11th, 2004, I used the English expression "wake-up call", in an attempt to convey the idea of the Brazilian word "chacoalhada", which is like "shaking" someone, as a way of "waking them up", making them aware of the need to behave differently as they have done something wrong. It seems, though, that "wake-up call" is not quite the same. I wasn't very sure, so I looked it up in some dictionaries and I got the feeling that "wake-up call" is normally used in more threatening, more serious situations, such as major turning points in a person's life, which was not the case in my sentence. Then again, I'm still not sure -maybe "wake-up call'" is appropriate in the context of the posting). (Sorry for the long interposition! In the future, I promise I will try much harder to refrain from making asides and engaging in soliloquy! ) - It’s always good to know how the world perceives us, as this helps us to get an even more crystal-clear picture of ourselves. Of course, it’s quite possible that you hadn’t intended your question about “enrolado” to be a reprimand. That’s beside the point, because the cap fits! Also, I must say that the concoction of this reply is an immensely enjoyable exercise, as it forces me not only to rack my brains trying to dig out and water and give a new lease of life to some words that were withering in my language garden due to neglect but also, and in fact even more importantly, to write in as accurate and earnest and heartfelt a way as I can. Still, I know, I know it' just silly of me - such exaggerated zeal is totally out of place in language discussion forums, so I'd better play by the rules - this way, I´ll bore fewer people, I'll be able to connect with a larger audience, I will save my own time and energy, yep, that's a much more sensible approach! No doubt about it; forums are such a great opportunity for soul-searching and the refinement of our written expression! :D So, once more, thank you! :D

    And now, I’m off, as I behold lovely clean uncluttered space ahead, urging me to step in and make myself as comfortable as possible, and there are so many other pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, just waiting for me to claim them my own, which I must not keep postponing ad infinitum lest I remain forever shackled by samsara... ... Indeed it’s about time I changed my ways.... ....


    ... ... Period.


    … Well, but I'm also so fond of commas! :wink:


    See you around,


    Gisele

  6. #6
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    Point taken!
    Hem... you sure? ;)

    Your prose looks like a l'Oulipo work, in which you have to use all the words in a random list. As long as you've fun, I suppose it's ok, but realize that 1) you drag the readers through a fairly long verbiage, and 2) you literally 'blitz' them with formal words and expressions, which leads them to ask themselves what you purpose is, precisely. Especially if your audience doesn't have as good a command of English as you.
    No offense, I'm just sharing my point of view ;)

    FRC

  7. #7
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: just x only

    Quote Originally Posted by gisele

    Well, to cut a long story short, my question is: Is it ever possible in a sentence that has the adverb “only”, for it to be replaced with "just"?

    Thanks,

    Gisele
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Yes, "just" can be used in place of "only".

    Here are two examples:

    I only have five dollars with me. I'll have to go to an ATM.

    I just have five dollars with me. I'll have to go to an ATM.

    That restaurant just accepts cash. They don't take credit cards.

    That restaurant only accepts cash. They don't take credit cards.

    Here are other ways that we can use "just" in English.


    A. by a small margin, almost – just + about

    just about 10:30, just about finished, just about there, just about done, just made it to the bus stop, just made it to the train station, just made it to the airport, just made it there on time,

    B. only a moment ago

    just missed the bus, just missed him, just missed her, just stepped out, just got back, just walked in, just woke up, just got through, just got done, just stopped raining, just finished eating, I just thought of it now,

    C. Intensifier, Added Emphasis, absolutely, really - simply

    just wonderful, just great, just amazing, just awful, just terrible, * just doesn’t know what * talking about, * just don’t know what to do, * just can’t make up * mind, Just think about it, Just take your time, * just couldn’t get there any earlier, I’m just not going to get upset about it, There’s just nothing like it,

    D. and nothing more, only that and nothing more,

    in just a minute, just a minute, It’ll just take a minute, It’ll just take a few minutes, just friends, I just thought I’d stop by and say hi, I just wish that ………, I just felt so tired, Just open the window a little, Just close the window a little, Would you just shut up, Just think about it, just slipped my mind, Just tell me what you think, Just tell * what * think – thinks,

    E. Indicating Exactness or Preciseness, Exactly and Precisely – the same thing

    Often Used with Comparative Statements

    That’s just what I said, just so, That’s just the way it should be, just as good as, just as bad as, just like * , just what I think, just what * would say, * looks just like *, *seems just like *, That’s just what I need, That’s just what I wanted, That’s just what I didn’t want to happen,
    This -That is just what * didn’t want – need, That – This is just the way I like it,

    F. The Way It Should Be – to a satisfactory degree

    just right, just enough, just fine, just in time, just perfect, just so,

  8. #8
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    Default Re: just x only

    Quote Originally Posted by gisele
    Hi,
    I had always assumed that when it's possible to use "only" in a sentence, the adverb "just" is also (maybe not always but most of the times) a valid option.
    Welcome.

    You're right in adding 'maybe not always but most of the time'. 8)

    Given the context, This class is just on Thursday, what's needed is an adverb that expresses exclusively (i.e., only), and not an adverb that expresses exactly ~ merely (i.e., just). :wink:

    All the best, :D

  9. #9
    gisele Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Francois
    Point taken!
    Hem... you sure? ;)

    Your prose looks like a l'Oulipo work, in which you have to use all the words in a random list. As long as you've fun, I suppose it's ok, but realize that 1) you drag the readers through a fairly long verbiage, and 2) you literally 'blitz' them with formal words and expressions, which leads them to ask themselves what you purpose is, precisely. Especially if your audience doesn't have as good a command of English as you.
    No offense, I'm just sharing my point of view ;)

    FRC


    Thanks, François - you're right! I need to be briefer and generally more down-to-earth, in every area of my life! I'm not familiarized with Oulipo; I'll take a look at the wikepedia explanation when I can.

    Best,
    Gisele

  10. #10
    gisele Guest

    Default Re: just x only

    [quote="X Mode"]
    Quote Originally Posted by gisele

    Well, to cut a long story short, my question is: Is it ever possible in a sentence that has the adverb “only”, for it to be replaced with "just"?

    Thanks,

    Gisele
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Yes, "just" can be used in place of "only".

    Here are two examples...

    Here are other ways that we can use "just" in English....

    < refer to X Mode's posting >


    Hello X Mode,

    Thanks for the wealth of examples!

    Best,
    Gisele

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