There are two options A and B regarding to the usage of a word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary while the Cambridge Dictionary just gives one, that is A.

To convey that idea, should I say

the Cambridge Dictionary just gives one option


the Cambridge Dictionary gives just one option

Where should I put the adverb "just" and why?

The context is adapted from the post "the doctor" vs. "the doctor's"

  • 1
    This sense of just means only, and goes in the same niches, which is to say that it may appear immediately before the lexical item that is its focus (and is ordinarily stressed), or it may go immediately before any constituent that contains its focus. That means both A and B are grammatical and have the same meaning. In print, of course, all sentences are multiply ambiguous because stress is not represented, so the closer one puts focussing operators like only or even to their focus element, the less ambiguity one invokes. Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


In normal speech, I would say A.

This is formally ambiguous, (but not in practice). But in writing, I might prefer B, which avoids the ambiguity.

  • Thank you. Does "formally" here mean "seemingly"?
    – RobertH
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 3:14
  • No. It means that just looking at the form (or shape) of the sentence, it could be ambiguous, as the just could apply to diffiernt parts of it.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 8:56

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