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  1. I had just arrived home last night when I remembered that I had left my keys in the office

  2. I had arrived home last night, and only a short time after that, I remembered that I had left my keys in the office

These two have the same meaning, right?

marked as duplicate by ColleenV Sep 4 '18 at 11:20

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They are slightly different in meaning. 'Just' usually implies a shorter time period than 'a short time after'. 'Just' implies that 'arriving' and the 'remembering' occurred at the same instant, or at least 'almost the same instant'. 'Only a short time after' implies that their is a period of time between 'arriving' and the 'remembering'.

Both of these are more measures of psychological time than an exact period of real time, so it is difficult to assign a particular number of seconds or minutes to them.

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Further to the good answer provided by James...

The word just expresses, in an emphatic manner, the subjective perception of the near simultaneity of two events. If we say a short time after there is still subjectivity in short, but without just (or only) there is no emphasis on the speaker's perception that very little, if any, time had elapsed between the two events.

For example, I might arrive back at my house, unlock and open the front door, step inside, turn around to close the door, and then turn back around and take only one step into the room when the phone rings. I could say:

The phone rang just as I came in the door.

The phone rang as soon as I came in the door.

The phone rang the second I came in the door.

But another person might take those same actions, but walk all the way into the kitchen and set a kettle to boil on the stove for a cup of tea, when the phone rings. Although three or four minutes might have elapsed, that person might also say

The phone rang just as I came in the door. I didn't even have a chance to sit down.

The phone rang the minute I came in the door. I didn't even have a chance to sit down.

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