+0
Hello,

Could you please opine which of the following sentences correctly expresses the idea of unsufficiency of the term two people know each other for:

1) They've only known each other for a few weeks. [guide's choice]

2) They've known each other only for a few weeks. [my choice]

3) They've known each other for a few weeks only. [also possible in my opinion]

4) They've known each other for only a few weeks. [to top it off]

Thanks in advance.

--

Victor
+0
My preference is #4.

It puts the "only" as close as possible to the period of time.

That said, you'll hear all of these (#3, not so much, I think), and no one will be confused about the meaning.

No one will say "Oh, they've only KNOWN each other -- so else did they do together before they KNEW each other -- saw each other from across a hallway?" because they genuinely don't understand that only is modifying the period of time and not the nature of the relationship.
+0
Grammar GeekMy preference is #4.

It puts the "only" as close as possible to the period of time.

No one will say "Oh, they've only KNOWN each other -- so else did they do together before they KNEW each other -- saw each other from across a hallway?" because they genuinely don't understand that only is modifying the period of time and not the nature of the relationship.

Still, my favorite is: President and Mrs. Reagan only sleep in a king-size bed. [What a waste of good space. Emotion: embarrassed

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Comments  
Hi Barbara,
Thanks for your comment.

> It puts the "only" as close as possible to the period of time.

I heard about this rule, but I suppose it's specific to AmE? It seems,
my guide, which is BrE-ish, doesn't take this rule into account.

--

Victor
 Philip's reply was promoted to an answer.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.