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  1. #1
    Dark_Fury's Avatar
    Dark_Fury is offline Member
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    be only something

    Hello, I was wondering if you could help me understand the meaning of the word 'only' in the following sentences:

    She's only the biggest pop act to come along in decades.
    It's only the most prestigious prep school around.
    He's only the king of the whole wood.

    It doesn't seem that we can very well substitute the 'only' in these sentences for "nothing more than", unless we would like to sound sarcastic, or am I wrong?
    Last edited by Dark_Fury; 16-Jun-2017 at 15:19.

  2. #2
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: be only something

    You found the answer - it's a slightly sarcastic way to add emphasis to a statement.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. #3
    Rover_KE is online now Moderator
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    Re: be only something

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    it's a slightly sarcastic way to add emphasis to a statement.
    That's right. It often follows an expression of surprise at somebody's ignorance:

    'You've never heard of Mount Everest? It's only the highest mountain in the world!'

  4. #4
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: be only something

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    It often follows an expression of surprise at somebody's ignorance:

    'You've never heard of Mount Everest? It's only the highest mountain in the world!'
    And it works very naturally with superlatives, as shown in the examples we've seen.

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