What is the right place for "Only"?

What is the right place for "Only"?


The word only is used everywhere but it is sometimes used without clarity. When this happens the reader or listener is confused about the real meaning of the sentence where it is used. Only means alone, solely or no other. Normally, only should be placed immediately before the word or phrase that it modifies.

E.g.

She ate the only sandwich on the plate.

This means that there was only one sandwich left on the plate which she ate.

Or, She ate only the sandwich on the plate.

This means that there were other snacks on the plate, but she ate only the sandwich.

Therefore, it is necessary that we become habitual to use only just before the word that you want to single out. This is important because it can change the meaning of the sentence unless the context of the sentence is clear to the reader or the listener. This is especially important in formal settings as it will save misunderstandings.

Test your understanding - Choose the correct sentence from the pair of sentences given below

1.
a. Rajesh was the only boy in his class who had done his homework yesterday.
b. Rajesh was only the boy in his class who had done his homework yesterday.

View Answer / Hide Answer

ANSWER: a. Rajesh was the only boy in his class who had done his homework yesterday.



2.
a. Please put the only paper that I have torn into the dustbin.
b. Please put only the paper that I have torn into the dustbin.

View Answer / Hide Answer

ANSWER: b. Please put only the paper that I have torn into the dustbin.



3.
a. The family went on a vacation and only Sushmita enjoyed it as she loves the water.
b. The family went on a vacation and Sushmita only enjoyed it as she loves the water.

View Answer / Hide Answer

ANSWER: a. The family went on a vacation and only Sushmita enjoyed it as she loves the water.



4.
a. The newspapers were lying on the floor and Mother only was trying to gather them.
b. The newspapers were lying on the floor and only Mother was trying to gather them.

View Answer / Hide Answer

ANSWER: b. The newspapers were lying on the floor and only Mother was trying to gather them.



5.
a. Keep quiet. Rajat will only speak.
b. Keep quiet. Only Rajat will speak.

View Answer / Hide Answer

ANSWER: b. Keep quiet. Only Rajat will speak.


Post your comment

You may like