I am not able to parse the following bold part of the sentence:

Appeals by the convicts are only to be expected, and the Judge Tejwinder Singh’s approach and the manner in which he appreciated the evidence would be determined by higher courts. (Source: The Hindu)

I parse it two ways:

Appeal by the convicts are only------ (Here only goes with the first part)

-------------------Only to be expected (Here only goes with the second part)

I am confused; which one is correct?

  • "Only" modifies the verb phrase "to be expected".
    – BillJ
    Jun 13, 2019 at 8:03
  • Basically it is expected, as a matter of course, that convicts will appeal
    – Smock
    Jun 13, 2019 at 10:53
  • If it applied the the first part, it almost assuredly would have been put first ("Only appeals by the convicts are to be expected"). This isn't necessarily always the case, but, in this sentence, no respectable author would have put only after the verb "are" if it were meant to modify the first clause.
    – J.R.
    Jun 15, 2019 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


According to Macmillan Dictionary:

It’s (only) to be expected = used for saying that something is completely normal

It’s only to be expected that someone would have to cancel.

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