2

I believe, Only mostly means as one of its kind. Correct me if I am wrong. Last week, I texted my friend asking her where she was she replied I am at home only. Sometimes I see people using it in terms like I am at the railway station only or I am the park only. Is this way of using only correct

2
  • 4
    It would require a ridiculously contrived context for I am at home only to be idiomatically valid. Almost certainly, you're only hearing these usages from non-native speakers. Don't copy them. Jan 24 at 13:12
  • 1
    This could be a case of an eggcorn, when you misunderstand an unfamiliar word by swapping it with a more familiar one home/station/park only ---> I'm at home/(the) station/(the) park alone
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 24 at 17:15

2 Answers 2

5

This isn’t a correct way of saying only.

In these cases, rather than saying ‘only’ you would say ‘alone’;

I am at home alone.

I am at the railway station alone.

You could also say:

I am the only person at home.

I am the only person at the railway station.

3

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, only can be used in two ways:

  • as an adjective, meaning that there is a single one of something.
  • as an adverb, meaning 'not more'

When it is used as an adjective, it normally occurs before a noun:

This is my only pen

Adverb positioning is a lot more flexible, for example:

Only a fool would believe his story!
I only have one pen
It's only a game
This club is for members only.

I can't think of any way that you could use the adjectival meaning in your friend's sentence.

If she meant that she was not doing anything more interesting than sitting at home, the normal position would be after the be-verb:

I am only at home

4
  • 1
    While the last is the better word order, it still seems unidiomatic to use "only" for this. I think "just" would be more common.
    – Barmar
    Jan 24 at 15:48
  • @Barmar, "Members only" is a normal phrase in US English, maybe even a set phrase. Saying it's just for members wouldn't be out of place either, but I wouldn't be willing to guess which one is more common.
    – Karen
    Jan 24 at 19:25
  • @Karen True. There's no general rule, as with many English phrases.
    – Barmar
    Jan 24 at 20:12
  • @Karen yes, members only is a set phrase. No need to guess which is more common. just for members is very uncommon in written English. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – JavaLatte
    Jan 25 at 12:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .