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a. He sings here only on Saturdays.

Does that mean that he sings here every Saturday?

b. He only doesn't practice on Sundays.

Does that mean that he never practices on Sundays?

Many thanks

1 Answer 1

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Sentence 1

No, He sings here only on Saturdays means that if he is singing here, it must be Saturday. In other words, he never sings on other days of the week. It doesn't tell us anything about how frequently he sings.

Sentence 2

This sentence does not sound natural. However, the words, taken literally, mean that the only day he does not practice, is Sunday. In other words, he practices every day except Sundays. This would be better expressed by saying exactly that: He practices every day except Sundays.

To say that he never practices on Sundays, you could say exactly that or you could say He doesn't practice on Sundays.

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  • Thank you very much, Friendly Racoon, for this clear and detailed answer. One more question, is this sentence in any way ambiguous: 1. He doesn't practice only on Sundays. And is this one correct: 2. Only on Sundays does he not practice. Many thanks
    – azz
    Commented May 2 at 21:05
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    @azz Yes, the second sentence is much clearer. The first one could mean either: A- The only day he does not practice is Sundays or B- he doesn't [really] practice, but does a small amount on Sundays Commented May 3 at 20:03

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