Just vs. Only

Difference Between Just and Only

Only and Just are two words in English to be used carefully so that their connotations are very distinguished indeed. The word just means ‘a while ago’ as in the sentence ‘Albert has just left her family’. It only means that Albert left his home a while ago.

On the other hand the word only indicates to a particular object alone, the thing or person demarcated as in the sentence ‘Johnson is the only boy in the class that has obtained the distinction in the exams’. Here you would understand that Johnson is the only boy in the class to have got distinction in the exams.

It is interesting to note that in American English the word Just is meant to refer to the past tense as in the sentence ‘he Just went out’. Note that the sentence ‘Florence just had a conference call with her colleagues’. In this sentence you can see that the word ‘just’ is used to indicate the past.

The word only is used to lay the emphasis on a person or thing as in the sentences

1. Only Francis in the group knows the truth.

2. Winston is the only boy in the class who is taller than Francis.

In both sentences you can see that the word ‘Only’ is used to place the emphasis on two persons, namely, Francis and Winston respectively.

If the word only is used at the end of a sentence, it gives an entirely different meaning as in the sentence ‘Of all the questions, he answered only a few’. In this sentence the word only gives additional meaning he did not know the answers to other questions or did not find the time to write their answers. Sometimes the sentence can be rewritten as’ of all the questions he answered just a few only. ”




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