She just doesn‘t know how to bring up children.
In the above sentence, what does just mean?
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The sense of just in the sentence is the following:
used to make a statement or order stronger, like in:
- He just won't do as he's told.
- It's just too expensive.
Expanding on user070221's answer, it also depends on the context.
For example, "just" could be used here as a caveat (one disadvantage in an otherwise good situation):
PersonA: Do you think PersonC will be a good mother?
PersonB: Well she keeps her home very organized and can cook healthy meals. She just doesn't know how to bring up children.
Another similar example, where "just" communicates an excuse:
PersonA: My mom was really tough on me as a child. She hurt my feelings a lot.
PersonB: I know, but your mom loves you. She just doesn't know how to bring up children.
There are probably other contexts too but these are the ones I could think of.
No need to accuse her of being cruel or abusive or neglectful or inconsiderate toward her children. She's also not selfish or stupid.
The truth is, she just doesn't know how to be a good mother.
I think that as she matures and with her family's support, the kids will be okay.
The "just" eliminates the other potential causes for the action.
To give a shortcut: uses of 'just' in that form, can normally be replaced by 'simply' without changing the meaning.
"she simply doesn't know how to be a good mother"
However, 'just' is normally the more friendly version.
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