has only to

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tomolonight

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Can you explain this sentence:

1) James has only to come into a room to make Mark angry.
 

emsr2d2

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Can you explain this sentence:

1) James has only to come into a room to make Mark angry.

The only thing that James has to do is to enter the room and Mark immediately becomes angry.

It suggests that Mark does not like James very much. Mark becomes angry at James when he does something as simple as entering the room. James does not have to do anything more specific or annoying!
 

Leandro-Z

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I can`t say I agree.
I think it has to do with the following:

Whenever James enters a room, his purpose is to argue with Mark.

Just my opinion, thank you.
 

Leandro-Z

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No!
I was confused.

It is Ok. Mark can`t put up with James.

Sorry emsr2d2...
 

Barb_D

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Your reading would have been right if it had been "James only comes into a room to argue with Mark."
 

tomolonight

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The only thing that James has to do is to enter the room and Mark immediately becomes angry.QUOTE]

1) How do you know that Mark immediately becomes angry?

2) James has only to come into a room to make Mark angry.
** James has only come into a room to make Mark angry.
** ( any difference between ' has only to ' and ' has only '?

Give me more examples. Thanks.

 

emsr2d2

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The only thing that James has to do is to enter the room and Mark immediately becomes angry.QUOTE]

1) How do you know that Mark immediately becomes angry?

2) James has only to come into a room to make Mark angry.
This means, as I said, that the only thing James has to do to make Mark angry, is come into the room. He doesn't have to speak, or breathe, or start an argument. It is merely the act of entering the room that angers Mark. James does not want to make Mark angry, nor is that his reason for entering. "Has only to" = "the only thing he needs to do is"

So for this purpose, we use the present simple (have/has) + only + full infinitive"

** James has only come into a room to make Mark angry.

This means that the only reason James has come into the room is specifically to make Mark angry. That was his purpose in entering the room. "Has only come" = "the only reason he has come"

For this purpose we use the present perfect (has come), separated by the word only.

** ( any difference between ' has only to ' and ' has only '?

Give me more examples. Thanks.


I have only to look at a chocolate biscuit, and I gain 2 kilos. (Sarcastic!)
He has only to dream about winning the lottery, and he wins. (I wish this were true!)
Dogs have only to smell a cat, and they immediately run after it!

I have only come into work to collect my pay.
They have only gone to the football game because they think the players are sexy.
He has only done the washing-up because I told him to.
 
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