Is it right to say "Only somebody can do something the best"? Or instead, we should say "Somebody can do something the best" or "only somebody can do something well"?


"Only mathematics can give the most clear explanation to the question."

"Mathematics can give the most clear explanation to the question."

"Only mathematics can give a clear explanation to the question."

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    In its present form I think this question is unanswerable. None of the above are "credible" utterances. Using different words, what is it you want to convey? – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Dec 22 '13 at 22:44
  • updated, @FumbleFingers – Tim Dec 23 '13 at 2:06
  • Please give more context. – mmb Jan 15 '14 at 18:35
  • @mmb: The context is the examples. – Tim Jan 15 '14 at 18:45
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    @Steve: Thanks for the support. More particularly, thanks for calling my attention to the fact that this question doesn't actually have any answers. I think "number/proportion of unanswered question" is one of the factors taken into account when TPTB consider promoting SO "beta" sites to full status, so I'll move my comment into an answer. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 17 '14 at 15:48

OP's #1 is at the very least unusual - obviously only one can be the clearest/biggest/smallest/whatever, so it's both redundant and cumbersome to include the word only. But #2 and #3 mean different things.

With #2, it's possible many other disciplines can provide clear explanations (just not quite as clear as that provided by mathematics).

But #3 asserts that no other disciplines at all can give clear explanations.

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