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Difference between Only and Just

Difference between Only and Just

In grammar, there are two words that are used to indicate quantity: only and just. These words have similar meanings, but they are not interchangeable. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between only and just. We will also discuss when it is appropriate to use each word. Stay tuned!

What is Only?

Only is a determiner, pronoun, and adverb. As a determiner, only means “alone” or “not including anyone or anything else.” For example, “I have only two brothers.” As a pronoun, only means “solely” or “no one but; exclusively.” For example, “That book is for me and no one else—it’s mine, only mine.” And as an adverb, only means “simply” or “just.” For example, “He was only joking.” In this sentence, the word only modifies the adjective joking to mean that the person wasn’t serious—they were just joking around. In summary, the word only has multiple functions in English grammar, acting as a determiner, pronoun, and adverb. By understanding how to use only in each of these capacities, you can add nuance and precision to your writing and speaking.

What is Just?

When people hear the word “just,” they often think of it as meaning “only” or “simply.” However, the word can also be used to describe something that is fair or morally good. For example, you might say that someone is “just” if they always try to act in a way that is fair and honest. Additionally, the word can be used to describe someone who has been treated unfairly. For example, if you are not given the same opportunity as others to succeed, you might say that you have been “done wrong” or ” railroaded.” In this sense, “just” means “deserving” or “worthy.” It is important to consider the context in which the word is being used in order to understand its full meaning.

Difference between Only and Just

Only and just are two words that are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings. Only is used to indicate that something is the only thing or the only one of its kind. For example, “I can only have one slice of cake.” Just means that something has happened or will happen immediately. For example, “I’m just about to eat my dinner.”

So, if you want to say that there is only one thing that you can do, you would use only. If you want to say that you are about to do something, you would use just. Remember, only refers to a single thing, while just refers to the timing of an action.


The main difference between “only” and “just” is that “only” can be used to modify a noun or a pronoun, whereas “just” can only modify a verb. For example, you could say “I’m only here for the food,” or “He’s just arrived.” You would not say *”I’m just here for the food,”* because “just” modifies the verb (“arrived”) and not the pronoun (“I”). Similarly, you could say “She’s been there only five minutes,” but not *”She’s been there just five minutes,”* because again, “just” modifies the verb. In general, use “only” when you want to emphasize that something is the sole reason for something else happening, while use “just” to indicate that something is recent or has happened recently.

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