English Language; Drama & Speech; Social Etiquette. Est. 1986, Hong Kong

Blog

08 April 2016

If Only….

“Only” is only a simple four-letter word, but moving it around can change the meaning of a sentence!

 

This word can be both an adjective (a word that describes a noun), an adverb (a word that tells us how, what, why, or where a verb acts), or even as a conjunction (a linking word).

 

As an adverb it means “without others or anything further; alone; solely; exclusively”, as in “This is for your eyes only”. It can mean “no more than; merely; just”, as in “If it were only true! I cook only on weekends.” It can also mean “as recently as”, for example, “I saw that film only yesterday”. It can also relate to in the final outcome or decision: “You will only regret your harsh words to me.”

 

As an adjective, “only” can mean the “single one or the relatively few of the kind” as in “This is the only clean shirt I can find”. It can also mean “being the single one or the relatively few of the kind” as in “an only child; an only son”. It can mean something that is unique or superior: “The one and only David Beckham”.

 

As a conjunction, it can act as the word “but”, introducing a single restriction, restraining circumstance, or the like, for example, “I would have accepted your invitation, only my mother didn’t want me to go”.

 

To see its use, do the following!

 

Try putting “only” in different parts of the following sentence to see how it changes the meaning of the sentence:
“She told him that she loved him.”