only : Common Errors in English

About only

Writers often inadvertently create confusion by placing “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 but one 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. Strictly speaking, “I only lost my shirt” should mean I didn’t destroy it or have it stolen—I just lost it; but in common speech this is usually understood as being identical with “I lost only my shirt.” Scrutinize your uses of “only” to make sure you are not creating unwanted ambiguities.

only Meaning(s)

  • (s) being the only one; single and isolated from others
  • (s) exclusive of anyone or anything else
  • (r) and nothing more
  • (r) without any others being included or involved
  • (r) with nevertheless the final result
  • (r) in the final outcome
  • (r) except that
  • (r) never except when
  • (r) as recently as

only in News

  1. ‘Only God Forgives’ Brutal New Trailer Drops [Video]

    There’s a lot to expect from Nicolas Winding Refn as suggested by the previous trailers of his Ryan Gosling dark noir Only God Forgives. If going by just the last two trailers that came out, Only God Forgives is the big boy version of his moody film Drive, which also starred Gosling. Although it’s suggested [...] ‘Only God Forgives’ Brutal New Trailer Drops [Video] is a post from: The Inquisitr
    on June 15, 2013 Source: The Inquisitr

  2. New ‘Only God Forgives’ Trailer and Poster: Ryan Gosling’s Out for Revenge

    In the 'Only God Forgives' trailer, Ryan Gosling must avenge the death of a family member. The Bangkok thriller directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive).
    on June 15, 2013 Source: Screen Rant

  3. Only 4 school chief interviews open to public

    Only four interviews for candidates for the McComb School District superintendent’s job will be open to the public.
    on June 15, 2013 Source: McComb Enterprise-Journal

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