Note: as @Acccumulation pointed out, the video mentioned in this post is using a bad example, plz consider the example in the answer.

This video (https://youtu.be/gvG713JZPL4?t=264) says

only can be a conjunction

and gives this example

you just started learning English only you sound fluent because you're so confident

Although I did see "only" connects 2 parts of the sentence, I cannot understand the meaning of that. I cannot even understand the meaning of whole sentence.

Pretend that I started learning English a few days ago and my teacher said that to me. I guess she is trying to encouraging me though, I still get the meaning clearly.

I guess "only" here means, but or however, with which

you just started learning English but you sound fluent ...

makes more sense. and I cannot yet get the point.

  • While it's true that "only" is replaceable by the coordinator "but", I wouldn't call it a coordinator (your conjunction) since it lacks most of the properties required to be a member of that class. For example, the clauses it links don't have to be syntactically alike. It's probably better to call it a preposition -- one that takes clausal complements.
    – BillJ
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


As the video says, it pretty much means the same thing as "but", except, as you note, more confusing. The example given is not a particularly good one, as the contrast should be more direct, such as "They did have a lot of free food, only I wasn't hungry". The video also mentions that it's more casual. I would put this in the category of "Things English Language Learners should be aware of so they can understand when people use it, but probably are better off not trying to use themselves."

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