Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Only and Just

Only vs Just

“Only” and “just” are both adverbs which can be used in similar ways but have very different usages. It is important to understand the difference between the two in order to avoid simple grammatical mistakes.

“Just,” according to the dictionary, means “precisely” or “exactly.” For instance;

This is just what I mean.

In a sentence “just” indicates “a moment ago.” In other words, it may be said that “just” points to “within a short preceding time; but a moment before.”

The Sun just came out of the clouds.
My house is just ahead of the tree.
Albert was just there.

In the past tense, the use of “just” indicates the immediate past as “not much before that moment.” As in;

Florence just came to the conference.
The party has just started.

Sometimes “just” is also used as a polite word. It is used to bring respect for the other person. As in;

Can you tell me the answer?
Can you just tell me the answer?

The difference of tone in both the questions is quite noted. Here the word “just” doesn’t have any specific meaning attached.
In other instances “just” is simply used because “only” cannot be used there. For instance;

Francis just called.

The word “only” means “recently.” For instance;

I finished my examinations only a month back.

Here the time limit is relative. It doesn’t essentially mean in the immediate time reference as is the case with just.
“Only” also indicates a single or lone object or person. As in;

Martha is the only child to her parents.
Only Paulo in the class knew the answer.

In both statements above, Martha and Paulo are the sole persons on whom emphasis is laid. Martha is the sole daughter, and Paulo is the lone person who knew the answer.
Sometimes “only” is used to give extra meaning being placed at the end of the statement. Looking at a slight variation of the last statement;

Out of all questions, Paulo knew a few only.

This statement has a totally opposite meaning. Here, Paulo did not know the answers, but he managed to answer a few of them.
Besides the above-mentioned examples, there are many instances where “just” and “only” could be used interchangeably. For instance;

It took just a moment to break the relationship.
It took only a moment to break the relationship.

Here “just” and “only” imply similar meanings. In another example;

I just came to talk to you.
I only came to talk to you.

In this case, both are similar but “only” gives a formal touch while “just” is a bit informal in usage.

1.The word “just” means “a moment ago” while “only” has a relatively “recent” meaning.
2.“Just” provides an informal tone while “only” implies a formal tone to the conversation.
3.“Only” also means “single or alone” while “just” has no such meaning.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for these information I hope to supply me on my email any update.

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