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This post is not a duplicate of "her dog doesn't even want" vs. "even her dog doesn't want", since that post does not explain why "only" could not be used as an adjective in my second example.


I made up a sentence in another post (Did I put focusing adverbs in the correct position?)

Cambridge Dictionary only has examples about "complete list".

where I used only as adjective, is it still also idiomatic and grammatical if I use only as adjective?

Cambridge Dictionary has only examples about "complete list".

Cambridge Dictionary defines only as adjective

used to show that there is a single one or very few of something, or that there are no others

I guess "there are no others" fits with my 2nd example, only "complete list" no "full list".

I used "only" again (What type of adverbs "also" is?)

I found lots of people using "You can also", more than 1k hits only on ELL. And myself use "also" a lot as well.

and still don't have a clear understanding about its usage.

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  • This is exactly the same syntactic issue you just asked about with “her dog doesn't even want” vs. “even her dog doesn't want”, where the relevant grammatical principle is that only is "Prefixed to the particular word, phrase, or clause in which the paucity / uniqueness of the case is expressed". But with your specific example here it makes little sense to consider "only having" something as being some kind of "lesser" activity (as opposed to using it, perhaps?), so we don't really care about the position of only. Mar 5 '20 at 13:47
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    Does this answer your question? "her dog doesn't even want" vs. "even her dog doesn't want" Mar 5 '20 at 13:48
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Thank you. I thought "only" in "has only examples" is an adjective rather than an adverb.
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 5 '20 at 14:38
  • No, it's an adverb in both your examples. It's an adjective in, for example, "my only reservation".
    – BillJ
    Mar 5 '20 at 14:42
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    @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Thanks for your comprehensive explanation. Would you please move/copy your comments to answer, I'll accept it.
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 6 '20 at 21:52

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