I have a sentence from a textbook : He's only ________ got the message. And I am supposed to fill in the word JUST. But isn't ONLY an extra word that should not be there???
Thank you very much!
This is a truly great question. To a non-native English speaker, "only just" must sound totally redundant. But the expression means "only this minute," "only yesterday," "only very recently."
It's because "just" has several meanings. One is "only." Another is "very recently."
The two meanings blur together in the sense that "only a moment ago" and "just a moment ago" mean the same thing.
So an idiom evolved: "Only just." It's usually used as an explanation:
-Why didn't your answer my letter?
-Because I only just received it!
So as Mad says, it's good for emphasis. Like a lot of English, it doesn't make literal sense. But your text is correct: "Just" is the right word to put in the blank.