Confusing English Vocabulary Lesson: Just Vs Only

Michael Grammar, Vocabulary Leave a Comment

A lot of students have asked me about the difference between just and only, both over these words have some different uses, but in one way, they are exactly the same. Let’s have a look at the common ways these two words are used in English:

Just and Only also have the same meaning of “no more than ~”

  • I just had coffee for breakfast, so I’m really hungry.
  • I only had coffee for breakfast, so I’m really hungry.
  • I just need 20 minutes more to finish this report.
  • I only need 20 minutes more to finish this report.
  • That pen costs just $1? I’ll take two please!
  • That pen costs only $1? I’ll take two please!

Only is also used as an adjective meaning “the single one of its kind:”

  • This is the only computer I own.
  • He took my only pen, now I have to buy one.
  • Jack is an only child.

Just is also used to mean a little while ago or in the immediate past (recently):

  • I just woke up, so I’m still sleepy
  • I just heard about your accident. Are you ok?
  • I’m not hungry because I just ate lunch.
  • That couple just got married and are going on their honeymoon.

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

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