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Common Errors in English: Only

Don't use the word 'only' wrong again.

mercredi 19 avril, Il y a 8 mois
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Writers often create confusion by placing the word 'only' incorrectly in a sentence. It should go immediately before the word or phrase it modifies.

‘I lost my only shirt.’ means that I had only one shirt to begin with.

‘I lost only my shirt.’ means I didn't lose anything else.

‘Only I lost my shirt.’ means that I was the only person in my group to lose a shirt.

‘I only lost my shirt.’ In common speech this is usually understood as being identical with 'I lost only my shirt'. Although strictly speaking, ‘I only lost my shirt’ means I didn't destroy it or have it stolen, I only lost it.

Scrutinize your use and placement of 'only' to make sure you are not creating unwanted ambiguities.

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