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Dear teacher'

I don't know the meaning and the differences of this two sentences.Would you help me?

The two sentences are:

.a. He was left with only the drunken nurse.

.b. He was left only with the drunken nurse.

I wish you can help me .Thank you !
Comments  
a) He was left with only the drunken nurse.
b) He was left only with the drunken nurse.

You should use dots . before a. and b.
The best/typical position for only here would be after the auxilliary verb:

c) He was only left with the drunken nurse.
(he was left alone, with just the drunken nurse around)

a) He was left with only the drunken nurse.
may mean that he was left with a nurse whose only quality was being drunk; kind of strange to say that, and the clearest way of saying it would be, IMO:
d) He was left with the drunken-only nurse.

I'd say b) is equivalent with c) and more natural.

Others might want to chime in.
The best/typical position for only here would be after the auxilliary verb: He was only left with the drunken nurse.

I disagree with this. I have only drunk red wine, at its most literal, means I have done NOTHING but drink red wine. I have drunk only red wine means that my drinking has been limited to red wine.

The choice shown in a) (He was left with only the drunken nurse.) says that he was left with the drunken nurse as his only companion/caregiver. This is the best choice, in my opinion.

This order does not mean that the nurse's sole quality was being drunk, but that it was the sole person he was left with.

You might find the order you suggest in a sentence like this: "He was only trying to help." In this case, the sole thing he was trying to do was to be of assistance - with no other motives.
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Grammar Geek:

I have only drunk red wine
, at its most literal, means I have done NOTHING but drink red wine.
You mean, you haven't performed other actions with the red wine, such as say cook something with it, but you only DRUNK it? This I agree with.

I have drunk only red wine
means that my drinking has been limited to red wine.
I agree with this one.

But I understand your objection to:
c) He was only left with the drunken nurse.
It doesn't work here.

And if I think of left with as a block, you're right, a) is best.
To me, the context GG used as an example is agreeable. Check out this scenario: You just went to a party and had a couple of glasses red wine, then you left. On the way home, a cop stopped you and asked if you had been drinking. You replied “I have drunk only 2 glass of red wine”.

(This basically said, you had drunk nothing else other than the wine)

Though, The original questions were sounding a little odd to me.

He was left with only the drunk nurse - Should “a” work better with “the”?

His wife left him with all the money; leaving him only a mount of debts. If you agree this is a similar context then, “The” would sound odd, won’t you agree?
1. He was only left with the drunken nurse.

2. He was left with only the drunken nurse.

3. He was left only with the drunken nurse.

I'm not sure it's possible to say which is best, without more context.

For instance:

1a. "Can you believe it! He was only left with the drunken nurse!" "Lucky so-and-so..."

2a. "Poor chap. He was left with only the drunken nurse to help him put his socks on."

3a. "Did you say he was left with the drunk nurse and the sober nurse?" "No. He was left only with the drunk nurse."

MrP
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MrPedantic2a. "Poor chap.

Thank you four help!
AnonymousYou replied “I have drunk only 2 glass of red wine”.

(This basically said, you had drunk nothing else other than the wine)

hi, anon. I think it also said that you had drunk 2 glass of red wine, not more.

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