Their rejection of what he stands for was fully exhibited on Sunday when Trump joined world leaders in Paris to mark the centennial of the end of the World War I, only to hear French President Emmanuel Macron who said under the Arc de Triomphe that “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”

What does "only to" mean here? Or what did the author want to express?

1 Answer 1


only to do sth : used to show that something is surprising or unexpected:

He spent months negotiating for a pay increase, only to resign from his job soon after he'd received it.

In this context: Trump went to Paris to join the other leaders in marking an important anniversary, but may have been surprised when Macron made a speech directly criticizing Trump's earlier statement that he (Trump) thinks of himself as a "nationalist". The speech suggests France (and possibly the other European leaders) categorically reject Trump and his policies, even as Trump tried to demonstrate solidarity with them.

  • Thanks. PS:Your given example sentence confused me for a while. I understand the meaning after reading the Chinese version of cambridge dictionary. "received it" means "pay increasement", I had thought it was "the job". Nov 18, 2018 at 1:23
  • @zhang I agree the pronoun is a bit ambiguous.
    – Andrew
    Nov 18, 2018 at 2:16

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