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Only can be an adjective or an adverb.
You use only in front of a noun or one to say that something is true about one person, thing, or group and not true about anyone or anything else. In front of only you put the or a possessive.
When only has this meaning, you must use a noun or one after it. You cannot say, for example, 'He was the only to escape'. If you don't want to use a more specific noun, you can use person or thing. You can say, for example, 'He was the only person to escape'.
If you use another adjective or a number, you put only in front of it.
'Only' is not normally used after an. There is one common exception: if you say that someone is an only child, you mean that they have no brothers or sisters.
Only is used as an adverb to say that something is the one thing that is done, that happens, or that is relevant in a particular situation, in contrast to all the other things that are not done, do not happen, or are not relevant.
- If only applies to the subject of a clause, you put it in front of the subject.
- If the verb is be, you put only after it.
- If the verb is not 'be' and only does not apply to the subject, you usually put it in front of the verb or after the first auxiliary verb, regardless of what it applies to. For example, instead of saying 'I see my brother only at weekends', you usually say 'I only see my brother at weekends'.
However, if you want to be quite clear or emphatic, you put only immediately in front of the word, word phrase, or clause it applies to.
For extra emphasis, you can put only after the word or word phrase that it applies to.
In writing and formal speech, you can put only at the beginning of a sentence, followed by the word, phrase, or clause it applies to. After this word, phrase, or clause, you put an auxiliary verb or be followed by the subject of the main clause.
Another way of emphasizing is to start with 'It is only...' or 'It was only...' and the word or words that you want to emphasize. You put the rest of the sentence in a that-clause.
You use not only with but or but also as a way of linking words or word groups.
|Adj.||1.||only - being the only one; single and isolated from others; "the lone doctor in the entire county"; "a lonesome pine"; "an only child"; "the sole heir"; "the sole example"; "a solitary instance of cowardice"; "a solitary speck in the sky"|
single - existing alone or consisting of one entity or part or aspect or individual; "upon the hill stood a single tower"; "had but a single thought which was to escape"; "a single survivor"; "a single serving"; "a single lens"; "a single thickness"
|2.||only - exclusive of anyone or anything else; "she alone believed him"; "cannot live by bread alone"; "I'll have this car and this car only"|
exclusive - excluding much or all; especially all but a particular group or minority; "exclusive clubs"; "an exclusive restaurants and shops"
|Adv.||1.||only - and nothing more; "I was merely asking"; "it is simply a matter of time"; "just a scratch"; "he was only a child"; "hopes that last but a moment"|
|2.||only - without any others being included or involved; "was entirely to blame"; "a school devoted entirely to the needs of problem children"; "he works for Mr. Smith exclusively"; "did it solely for money"; "the burden of proof rests on the prosecution alone"; "a privilege granted only to him"|
|3.||only - with nevertheless the final result; "He arrived only to find his wife dead"; "We won only to lose again in the next round"|
|4.||only - in the final outcome; "These news will only make you more upset"|
|5.||only - except that; "It was the same story; only this time she came out better"|
|6.||only - never except when; "call me only if your cold gets worse"|
|7.||only - as recently as; "I spoke to him only an hour ago"|
your only hope is to hide → la única posibilidad que te queda es esconderte
it's the only one left → es el único que queda
"I'm tired" - "you're not the only one!" → -estoy cansado -¡no eres el único!
the only thing I don't like about it is → lo único que no me gusta de esto es ...
see also pebble
he's only ten → sólo or solamente tiene diez años
we only have five → sólo or solamente tenemos cinco
what, only five? → ¿cómo, cinco nada más? → ¿cómo, sólo or solamente cinco?
I'm only a porter → soy un simple portero
I only touched it → no hice más que tocarlo
it's only to be expected → cabe de esperar
he raced onto the platform only to find the train pulling out → llegó corriendo al andén para encontrarse con que el tren estaba saliendo
you only have to ask, you have only to ask → no tienes más que pedirlo, sólo tienes que pedirlo
it's only fair to tell him → lo mínimo que puedes hacer es decírselo
I was only joking → lo he dicho en broma
that only makes matters worse → eso sólo empeora las cosas
I will only say that → diré solamente que ..., sólo diré que ...
I only wish he were here now → ojalá estuviese ahora aquí
a ticket for one person only → un billete para una persona sólo
"members only" → sólo socios
God only knows! → ¡Dios sabe!
only time will tell → sólo el tiempo puede decirlo
a women-only therapy group → un grupo de terapia sólo para mujeres
it seems like only yesterday that → parece que fue ayer cuando ...
only just the hole was only just big enough → el agujero era lo justo
I've only just arrived → acabo de llegar ahora mismo, no he hecho más que llegar
it fits him, but only just → le cabe pero le queda muy justo
not only ... but also not only was he late but he also forgot the tickets → no sólo llegó tarde sino que además olvidó las entradas
a machine that is not only efficient but looks good as well → una máquina que no sólo es eficaz sino también atractiva
only too I'd be only too pleased to help → estaría encantado de or me encantaría poder ayudar(les)
it is only too true → por desgracia es verdad or cierto
I knew only too well what would happen → sabía demasiado bien lo que iba a pasar
see also if A5
it's a bit like my house, only nicer → es un poco como mi casa, sólo que or pero más bonita
I would gladly do it, only I shall be away → lo haría de buena gana, sólo que or pero voy a estar fuera
see also one A3
Monday is the only day I'm free → Lundi est le seul jour où je suis libre.
French is the only subject I like → Le français est la seule matière que j'aime.
the only one (= person) → le seul or la seule
I was the only one smoking → J'étais le seul à fumer.
the only one of us → le seul d'entre nous (= thing) → le seul or la seule
How much was it? - Only 10 euros → Combien c'était? - Seulement dix euros.
I only took one
BUT Je n'en ai pris qu'un.
these are only some of ... → ce ne sont que quelques uns des ...
We only want to stay for one night → Nous ne voulons rester qu'une nuit.
These cassettes are only 5 euros → Ces cassettes ne coûtent que cinq euros.
He's only a boy → Ce n'est qu'un enfant.
I was only joking → je plaisantais
He read only paperbacks → Il ne lit que des livres de poche.
only if → seulement si
I saw her only last week → Je l'ai vue pas plus tard que la semaine dernière.
I saw her only yesterday → Je l'ai vue pas plus tard qu'hier.
I remember it as if it was only yesterday → Je m'en souviens comme si c'était hier.
only just (= very recently) → tout juste
I've only just arrived → Je viens tout juste d'arriver.
Farmers have only just managed to survive → Les agriculteurs ont tout juste réussi à survivre.
I'd be only too pleased to help → Je ne serais que trop content de vous aider.
only too well
I know only too well → Je ne sais que trop bien ...
it's only too easy to ... → il n'est que trop facile de ...
I would come, only I'm very busy → Je viendrais bien, seulement j'ai beaucoup à faire.
I meant to tell you, only I forgot → Je voulais vous le dire, seulement j'ai oublié.
I'd like the same sweater, only in black → Je voudrais le même pull, mais en noir.
Snake meat is like chicken, only tougher → La viande de serpent est comme le poulet, mais en plus dur.
it's the only one left → è l'unico rimasto
your only hope is to hide → la tua unica speranza sta nel nasconderti
you are the only one who can help us → sei l'unico che possa or che può aiutarci
you are not the only one → non sei l'unico
an only child → un(a) figlio/a unico/a
the only thing I don't like about it is ... → l'unica cosa che non mi va è...
we have only five → ne abbiamo solo cinque
only one choice → una sola possibilità, un'unica scelta
only time will tell → chi vivrà vedrà
I'm only the porter → io sono solo il portinaio
I only touched it → l'ho soltanto toccato
I only took one → ne ho preso soltanto uno
only when I ... → solo quando io...
not only A but also B → non solo A ma anche B
I saw her only yesterday → l'ho vista appena ieri
we can only hope → non possiamo far altro che sperare
I'd be only too pleased to help → sarei proprio felice di essere d'aiuto
it's only too true → è proprio vero