Interested in Language
I have a book teaching American English grammar and conversation.
In it, there is a unit explaining direct and indirect speeches:
Indirect speech: review
Optional tense changes
When reporting verb is in the simple past tense, backshifting is optional when:
1. the statement refers to something JUST said:
Tom just called. He said that the director is leaving.
Tom just called. He said that the director was leaving.
(both are correct)
This is my question: I know the meaning of Just but what does it exactly mean used in those sentences?
They don't make a good sense if we say that Just in above examples mean Only. I have checked the meaning of Just in
dictionaries but I am not sure what it refers to or why it is used in there.
Source: Summit 2B (by Joan Saslo and Allen Ascher) Pearson
Longman Press, Unit 8, Direct and Indirect Speeches.
This definition of 'just' from Macmillan should explain it to your satisfaction:
a short time ago, or a short time before something that happened in the past. Mom just left to go to the grocery store.
Andy had just arrived in Australia the day before.
Susan was just telling me about your new job.
only just (=a very short time ago): I've only just started, so I can't tell you anything yet.