Learn English Vocabulary: JUST vs. ONLY

Michael Vocabulary Leave a Comment

Building up your vocabulary is essential when you are learning a second language. In this English lesson, let’s look at the difference between just and only. This will help you in your everyday English conversations, as well as on English tests such as the TOEIC exam.

Both of 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.

Keep in mind the best way to remember this or any vocabulary in English is to take the word or phrase write it in a sentence that’s true for you or true in your world and then memorize your sentences.

You can even take your sentences and write them in the comments below. I would love to see your examples. And if you really want help with vocabulary, sign up for my free vocabulary workshop (see below).

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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