ESL Class: Just & Only

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Just & Only

Dictionary definition of Only

Dictionary definition of Just

You can use just as an adv or adj; the former with different meanings such as exactly, short time ago, to emphasize what you are saying or as a synonym of only. In this case with the meaning of nothing more than the thing, amount etc, that you have mentioned. But as the word "synonym" means there is little difference between them.

Sometimes they are the same: I just/only need five more minutes to finish this.
Sometimes you can't substitute "only" for "just."

(A synonym for "just" in these two expressions could be "simply."

"What did you just give me?" "Just" = "a very short time ago." You can't say, "What did you only give me?" But you can say "Just/Only a moment ago I felt okay."
Now here "just" used the preferred expression: "when 'only' means 'as recently as' ." (I found out about his death only yesterday.) "Just" and "only" are interchangeable here.
Note that "recently" is relative here, as to the length of time passed. I'm thinking of Billy Strayhorn's lyrics, Life is lonely again, and only last year everything seemed so sure. - (Lush Life)


Just/Only lesson & exercises

Just/Yet/Already exercises

Just & Only worksheet