Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Placing “Only” Only in the Right Place.

This is one of my pet peeves. Don’t write “I only have eyes for you,” when you mean “I have eyes only for you.” There is a difference. Consider how the following sentences differ in meaning:

  1. Only John hit Peter in the nose.
  2. John hit only Peter in the nose.
  3. John hit Peter only in the nose.
  4. John only hit Peter in the nose.

“Only” is an adverb. Place it as close as you can to what that it modifies.  Here’s a longer explanation from Grammar Girl.


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