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  • Message 1. 

    Posted by Anushka (U15402927) on Thursday, 21st February 2013

    Hello Teachers

    The sentences below were posted by another learner asking where he should place "only" to emphasize.

    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

    two teachers had answered and given the meanings of individual sentence as below.

    1) On Sunday ‘I’ do not drink any beverage other than coffee.
    OR
    ‘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

    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?

    Thank you
    Anushka




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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by OldRover_KE (U10528653) on Thursday, 21st February 2013

    1. 'I only drink coffee on Sunday' is ambiguous. As has been noted earlier , it can mean

    'I don't drink coffee on any other day of the week'
    or
    'On Sunday I drink only coffee (no tea, no wine, no beer, no water).'

    Your suggestion that on Sunday the only thing you do with coffee is drink it (rather than, say, wash the car with it or sprinkle it round your roses) is frankly highly unlikely.

    The word 'only' in 'She and I only discussed the matter' does indeed emphasise the verb (we only discussed it; we didn't make any decisions or do anything else about it), as it does in 'I only play the game for fun; I don't really want to win'.

    2. ‘I drink coffee on Sunday only’ is natural, correct and – above all – unambiguous.

    Rover





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  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by OldRover_KE (U10528653) on Saturday, 23rd February 2013

    Native speakers often misplace 'only'.

    In a Publix supermarket in Florida is a sign in the beer section which reads

    BEER ONLY SOLD AFTER 10AM ON SUNDAYS.

    Can you spot the ambiguity there?

    Rover

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by Anushka (U15402927) on Saturday, 23rd February 2013

    Hello Rover
    Thank you very much for your explanation on that. Rover even though my suggestion is unlikely, it does put the emphasis on the “verb” as you explained in your example sentence “'She and I only discussed the matter” doesn’t it?
    With the second sentence I thought it was wrong because I have not been familiar with that structure but after reading your explanation now I know it. So Rover could you please tell me which sentence structure is more common in the language? 1 or 2?

    1. “I drink coffee only on Sunday”.
    2. “I drink coffee on Sunday only”


    Thank you
    Anushka

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  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by Anushka (U15402927) on Saturday, 23rd February 2013

    Native speakers often misplace 'only'.

    In a Publix supermarket in Florida is a sign in the beer section which reads

    BEER ONLY SOLD AFTER 10AM ON SUNDAYS.

    Can you spot the ambiguity there?

    Rover 
    Hello Rover

    that sentence doesn't seem right to me Rover. I think it is grammatically wrong and what about if I rephrase it like

    "Beer is sold only after 10 am on Sundays"

    Rover could you explain why 'is' was also omitted? by the way where would you teach us after they close the message board? Rover in the sentence above should I use 'close' or 'closed'?

    Thank you
    Anushka

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by OldRover_KE (U10528653) on Saturday, 23rd February 2013

    It's not a sentence, but a sign or a notice, which like news headlines omit unessential words for the sake of brevity.

    I shall join mustardland when they CLOSE this message board.

    Rover

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by Anushka (U15402927) on Sunday, 24th February 2013

    Hello Rover

    Thank you very much for your explanation. According to your explanation ‘auxiliary verbs’ are omitted in those situations but why?. So Rover could you please tell me which sentence structure is more common in the language? 1 or 2?

    1. “I drink coffee only on Sunday”.
    2. “I drink coffee on Sunday only”

    And in the question below
    “Where would you teach us after they close the message board?” Rover in the sentence above should I use 'close' or 'closed? I have already joined mustardland board and asked several questions there, that is also good and there are good teachers too.

    Thank you
    Anushka

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by csepelside (U14745460) on Sunday, 24th February 2013

    Hi, OldRover!

    BEER ONLY SOLD AFTER 10AM ON SUNDAYS.

    If I have understood your explanation correctly then I tell you my suggestion why the above sentence is ambiquous.

    It can mean:

    1. Only beer (nothing else!) is sold after 10 AM.
    2. Beer is sold only after 10AM. (not earlier than 10AM)

    Am I right?

    Report message8

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