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Timely Tips

Current Tip: Only

Choose your placement of the word ‘only’ very carefully; its placement can change the meaning of your sentence.

The word ‘only’ should be placed immediately before the word or phrase it modifies.

Examples:

Only Meg said that she was hungry.
Meaning: Meg alone said that she was hungry.

Meg only said that she was hungry.
Meaning: Meg said that she was hungry, but she really wasn’t.

Meg said only that she was hungry.
Meaning: Meg said that she was hungry; she did not say anything else.

Meg said that she was only hungry.
Meaning: Meg said that she was nothing except hungry [i.e., she did not say that she was tired].