The Beauty of the English Language

Posted: 12th September 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Everything Else
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Credit to one of the coolest guys I know for this post, because he posted this picture on his Facebook page. Thanks Christopher–and y’all should check out his books, they’re great.

I’m looking at this like a writing exercise. See my notes below, but feel free to come up with your own–and share them in the comments! Note, for variations that mean the same thing, I’ve combined them.
The Word Only

“Only she told him that she loved him.”

Sad, poignant, and yet uplifting at the same time–as it should be when anyone tells you they love you.


“She only told him that she loved him.”
“She told him only that she loved him.”

If you’ve gotta be told one thing, that’s not bad…


“She told only him that she loved him.”

I’m getting the sense of a ‘working woman’ here, but possibly something different.


“She told him that only she loved him.”

This could be quite a nice sentiment. I’m thinking that scene from Notting Hill–“I’m just a girl…”–for some reason. But it could also be pretty creepy, giving me a serious Misery vibe.


“She told him that she only loved him.”
“She told him that she loved only him.”
“She told him that she loved him only.”

Very similar to #3 up there, but not exactly the same. In this variation, she might actually love only him, but she might’ve told others that, too.

  1. A3 says:

    Another exercise: can you generate other sentences that work like this? Following this pattern is pretty easy – “He asked her if she believed him.” – works, for example. Can you come up with another pattern?

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