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Hi,
I'd like to know where to put the adverb in cases like these. What is ok? What is most common or natural?

I lost interest in spoken English. I even decided to focus only on written English.
I lost interest in spoken English. I even decided to only focus on written English.

In the end I decided to buy only from the sellers I already knew.
In the end I decided to only buy from the sellers I already knew.

I lost interest in English. In the end I decided to study it only to pass the exam, but not because I was still interested.
I lost interest in English. In the end I decided to only study it to pass the exam, but not because I was still interested.


Thanks Emotion: smile
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Comments  
KooyeenHi,
I'd like to know where to put the adverb in cases like these. What is ok? What is most common or natural?

I lost interest in spoken English. I even decided to focus only on written English. Emotion: smile
I lost interest in spoken English. I even decided to only focus on written English. Emotion: sad

In the end I decided to buy only from the sellers I already knew. Emotion: smile
In the end I decided to only buy from the sellers I already knew. Emotion: sad

I lost interest in English. In the end I decided to study it only to pass the exam, but not because I was still interested. Emotion: smile
I lost interest in English. In the end I decided to only study it to pass the exam, but not because I was still interested. Emotion: sad


Thanks Emotion: smile

In the first and third examples, it's a case of not splitting the infinitive.

In the second, 'only' does not modify 'buy' but rather 'from the sellers I knew'.
I found it!Emotion: smile

What about..

I lost interest in spoken English. I even decided only to focus on written English. ?
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PuccaI found it!Emotion: smile

What about..

I lost interest in spoken English. I even decided only to focus only on written English. ?
You are not "only-ing" the verb to focus, but rather the phrase 'on written English'. I hope my use of 'only-ing' doesn't confuse you.
Hello Philip!Emotion: smile

If I am not wrong it was you the one who said that it was recomendable to put words like 'only' the nearest we can from the word we are referring to, right?

But, imagine that I want to only the verb to focus, would that sentence be correct? or it would sound weird?Emotion: thinking

Thanks in advance!
i dont get it. in the usage. when "only" has to be used? and what is the different between only and just?
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Hi Walrus, welcome to the forums. "Only" and "just" have many meanings... Among all those meanings, "just" can mean "only", yes, so there wouldn't be any difference in certain contexts.

Thanks. Anyway I know it is not true that "only" modifies what's close to it, but it modifies what's stressed with the voice. As for the split infinitives, that's a prescriptive rule, and a lot of native speakers split them all the time. I have to say that split infinitives sound good to me.
The problem is that I don't know what most natives usually do...

I tried to install the software in the main PC. - If I want "only" to modify "the main PC", I can say ---> I only tried to install the software in the main PC.

But in sentences like the one I posted earlier... it's difficult because there is "even" that is already before the main verb. Also, the verb "decide" sounds a little bit differently to me, and I don't know if moving "only" before it would be a good idea.
Thanks again. Emotion: smile
This repeats some of what was said above, but it adds another vote.
Use the first of each pair, not the second, if you want to sound natural.

CJ
Kooyeen Anyway I know it is not true Emotion: surprise that "only" modifies what's close to it, but it modifies what's stressed with the voice. As for the split infinitives, that's a prescriptive rule, and a lot of native speakers split them all the time. I have to say that split infinitives sound good to me.
The problem is that I don't know what most natives usually do...

Hi Kooyeen

Hmm, then how do you decide what 'only' modifies when a sentence is written rather than spoken? Emotion: wink

Yes, native speakers do sometimes split infinitives, but my descriptive gut feeling is that, generally, we tend not to split. Emotion: smile
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