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    #1

    Question Use of only

    "There will only be critics only too ready to prove our incompetency..."
    "In such a situation, it was only natural that there should have been an outcry..."

    I am reading a book on translation and quite often I have come across such an use of "only". I understand this, at least to some extent (of an unknown degree), but would like to learn something more about this: is this just an emphasis added to the adjective, or is there something more lying behind it?

    Thanks,
    Nyggus

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: Use of only

    Only modifies the word it's closest to.

    Ex: Max only wants cake.

    Interpretation 1: Only Max, not Sam, wants cake.
    Emphasis: Max only wants cake.

    Interpretation 2: Max wants cake only, nothing else.
    Emphasis: Max only wants cake.

    Be careful where you put only.

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    #3

    Re: Use of only

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Only modifies the word it's closest to.

    Ex: Max only wants cake.

    Interpretation 1: Only Max, not Sam, wants cake.
    Emphasis: Max only wants cake.

    Interpretation 2: Max wants cake only, nothing else.
    Emphasis: Max only wants cake.

    Be careful where you put only.
    Indeed, but your examples are clear as day, but how this should be linked to the sentence I quoted: "In such a situation, it was only natural that there should have been an outcry..."? How the only, or whether at all, modifies "natural"?

    Nyggus

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    #4

    Re: Use of only

    [quote=nyggus;184191]Indeed, but your examples are clear as day, but how this should be linked to the sentence I quoted: "In such a situation, it was only natural that there should have been an outcry..."? How the only, or whether at all, modifies "natural"?

    Nyggus [/quote]

    I am not a teacher but a newbie.

    Only is a focusing adverb. One uses "only" to focus what one is saying on a particular word (it is "natural" in your example).
    "In such a situation, it was only natural (if any) that there should have been an outcry..." (For emphasis)

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #5

    Re: Use of only

    I'm not sure I understand your question. Would this help?

    There will only be critics
    adj. only in kind or class

    critics that are only too ready to prove
    it was only natural
    adv. e.g., at the very least; nothing else or nothing more.

    only - Definitions from Dictionary.com

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