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  1. #1
    arjitsharma is offline Member
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    "Only" is used as "but"

    I heard many natives say "only" instead of "but". For example, "I would make the payment only I don't have money".
    I would like to know when I should say "only" instead of "but"?

  2. #2
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Matthew Wai is offline VIP Member
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    Re: "Only" is used as "but"

    1. I want to pay, only I have no money.
    2. The photo looks good, only the background is too bright.
    3. He is clever, only lazy.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. #3
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: "Only" is used as "but"

    Matthew's examples are all OK in BrE but none of them is an example of when one should say "only" instead of "but", which is what you asked us for. In all three, both "but" and "only" are OK.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. #4
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Matthew Wai is offline VIP Member
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    Re: "Only" is used as "but"

    Quote Originally Posted by arjitsharma View Post
    I would like to know when I should say "only" instead of "but"?
    I think you should not do so in formal writing according to the following:

    'In informal English, only is often used as a sentence connector [...] This use should be avoided in formal writing.'—quoted from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/di...y/english/only
    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: "Only" is used as "but"

    British English speakers often use "only" to introduce a sentence that supplements the previous one:

    I see you're getting ready to drive somewhere. Only I don't know if you've noticed you've got a flat.

    (I'm not sure this is idiomatic British English, but it illustrates the usage.) American English doesn't use this construction, which is casual, conversational BrE, not used in writing.
    I am not a teacher.

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