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Posted by Luke (U14835610) on Sunday, 17th February 2013
I have a question about the position of "only". What is the most correct or natural position of this adverb? Is it after the subject like in the following sentence whose meaning is rather obvious?
I only drink wine at weekends.
What about a sentence where we can shift the emphasis? Which of these four sentences would be the most correct to emphasize "coffee" or "on Sunday"?
1) I only drink coffee on Sunday.
2) I drink only coffee on Sunday.
3) I drink coffee only on Sunday.
4) I drink coffee on Sunday only.
By the way, is sentence 2 incorrect according to the rule that there shouldn't be an adverb between the verb and direct object?
Looking forward to your help.
Posted by TheParser (U15332113) on Sunday, 17th February 2013
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
1. I am pretty sure that most native speakers would find "I ONLY drink coffee on Sunday(s)" the most natural.
a. But, yes, the books tell us that "only" should be placed as close as possible to the word that it qualifies.
i. Thus, in writing, I definitely would write "I drink coffee ONLY on Sunday(s)."
Have a nice day,
Posted by AussieLexie (U13880784) on Sunday, 17th February 2013
1) On Sunday ‘I’ do not drink any beverage other than coffee.
‘I’ do not drink coffee on any day other than Sunday.
2) On Sunday ‘I’ do not drink any beverage other than coffee.
3) ‘I’ do not drink coffee on any day other than Sunday.
4) ‘I’ do not drink coffee on any day other than Sunday.
There is no strict rule about the placement of ‘only’. However, to avoid ambiguity, place ‘only’ immediately before the word or phrase it modifies.
Posted by Anushka (U15402927) on Wednesday, 20th February 2013
Hello Mr. James/AL
I too would like to ask a few questions.
1. In first sentence “I only drink coffee on Sunday.” Doesn’t it put the emphasis on the verb ‘drink’? Meaning something like ‘The only thing I do with coffee is drink, not anything other than that’.
Can’t we emphasize ‘verbs’ using “only” as in?
‘She and I only discussed the matter’.
‘I only take part in the game but I don’t really want to win.’
2. ‘I drink coffee on Sunday only.’ Is using ‘only’ at the very end of the sentence natural and correct?
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