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Only and its position in a sentence

Only comes before the word it qualifies. If you change the position of only, you change the meaning of the sentence.

Read this post about the position of adverbs in English. It’s very useful for the IELTS exam. Make sure that you understand what the different adverb types are in English and what their position should be in a sentence. Remember, sometimes there will be a change of meaning when an adverb changes postions. This could be important in the IELTS reading exam and you need to be careful with adverbs in your writing and speaking.

Look at this sentence :

I spoke to his teacher.

How many positions do you think that only could go in? How would putting only in different positions change the meaning of the sentence?

Only I spoke to his brother.
This means that you were the only person to speak to his brother.


I only spoke to his brother
.
This means that you only talked. You didn’t write a letter.

I spoke only to his brother.
You didn’t speak to anybody else.

I spoke to his only brother.
He only has one brother and I spoke to him.

Look out for the use of only in IELTS reading papers and be careful when you use it!!

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