+0
Hi

In another of my tests i found "You should behave very formally , and only speak when you are asked a question."

To me, it sounds as if you always have to behave formally(I'm ok with this), and when you are asked a question you can't do anything else but speak.
In other words, you can speak anytime(I wouldn't consider that to be very formal Emotion: smile), but when you are asked a question you canonly speak and do nothing else.

I would write "You should behave very formally, and speak only when you are asked a question."
Now it sounds (to me) as if you have to behave very formaly, and you shouldn't speak when you aren't asked a question.(That's what I consider to be formal)

At least in my native language, 'only' usually apllies to the following word(s).
When not, it sounds strongly poetical or even strange.

Thanks in advance.
+2
Hi,

In another of my tests i found "You should behave very formally , and only speak when you are asked a question."

To me, it sounds as if you always have to behave formally(I'm ok with this), and when you are asked a question you can't do anything else but speak.
In other words, you can speak anytime(I wouldn't consider that to be very formal Emotion: smile), but when you are asked a question you canonly speak and do nothing else. I see what you mean. But consider that native speakers of English would rarely interpret the meaning in this way.

I would write "You should behave very formally, and speak only when you are asked a question."
Now it sounds (to me) as if you have to behave very formaly, and you shouldn't speak when you aren't asked a question.(That's what I consider to be formal) Yes, the meaning is clear this way, and it also sounds like better English than the first way.

At least in my native language, 'only' usually apllies to the following word(s).
When not, it sounds strongly poetical or even strange.
The . . . only speak . . . word order is very commonly used in Englsih, particularly in the spoken form.

Clive
+1
Hardelland speak only when you are asked a question.
Yes. Your version is clearer, but be aware that in English only "floats to the left".

I only bought two. (=I bought only two.)

CJ
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Comments  
Thank you Clive.
 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
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