Can somebody explain me the difference between only and just? In which cases we can use them?

ex: I need just one glass of water, i need only one glass of water

1 Answer 1


In practice there would rarely be any significant difference in meaning between OP's two alternatives, but to the extent that they could carry different implications, it's that...

1: I need just one glass of water
All I need is a glass of water (not food, a bed for the night, or anything else significant)

2: I need only one glass of water
I don't need more than one glass of water (one glass is enough)

It's worth noting that #1 above could be used with the same sense as given for #2. The sense I've given for it would more often be expressed as...

3: I just need a/one glass of water

  • There are examples where they wouldn't be interchangeable though. i.e We can say "This is the only glass of water I have" but it would be incorrect to say "This is the just glass of water I have". If you wanted to use just in that case, you would have to say something like "I just have this one glass of water". Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 7:03

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