Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Just vs. Only - Are They the Same?

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Hi, it's me Gabi from

A lot of English lessons will tell you that just and only can be used interchangeably

But that is only

Partly true. They're not giving you the full story

share what native speakers know lots of collocation and idiomatic phrases that we can only use

with only or

Just and then at the end, I'll give you a quiz to test your understanding. So did you know that

only can mean just but just doesn't always mean only. I don't know if that sounds a little confusing.

So we're gonna talk about it in this English lesson

Now if you're ready to improve your fluency and your confidence then buckle up because this is going to be a good one

I started researching the difference between just and only and even I was surprised at

How we use them so differently in the English language as native speakers use them in collocation

Which means words that we always use together kind of like friends or partners and in idiomatic phrases

Which may not make sense when you think about the literal meaning of the word but native speakers know what they mean

so as I mentioned just

Can mean only but only cannot

Always mean just it sometimes means just but it doesn't always mean just that means that just has a lot more

uses than only.

So just and only can both mean simply and we can use them interchangeably when we mean

simply but let me share some of the other ways we can use just and only

By the way, if you do enjoy this free English lesson

You should know that I have a complete English course and you can join the wait list to learn more and get a notification

when registration opens again at

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Just and only have five different meanings each

just means

Exactly, for example, that's just what I needed. That's exactly what I needed. Now notice that I can't use only here

I can't say that's only what I needed. It just doesn't have the same meaning

only on the other hand means solely or

Exclusively. There are only a few tickets left

Here I could use just there are just a few tickets left and it has the same meaning just can mean recently for example

she's just arrived meaning she's recently arrived only can also mean recently for example it was

only discovered last year

We can also use just in this sentence

It was just discovered last year just can mean barely or by a little for example

go natural English just has under two million subscribers now on YouTube, but only

Can mean something negative like more money will only bring more

Problems we can use just here instead of only more money

We'll just bring more problems, but we can't use only instead of just in my previous example

I couldn't say go natural English has only under two million subscribers. That is incorrect

Just can mean simply. For example, I


drink black coffee. I don't take cream or sugar here.

I can actually use only I only drink black coffee

As I mentioned before just and only can both mean simply

But I'm talking about some different uses of just and only right now all I can mean

single or

Alone in its kind for example true story

I have only ever run one full marathon. I could also use just in the sentence

I've only ever just run one full marathon and it has the same meaning

Just can be emphasis

Like you're just great kind of like so or really but I cannot use only in this way

I can't say you are only great. It just doesn't really mean the same thing only can be a conjunction

for example, you just

started learning English only

you sound fluent because you're so confident kind of like but or however or nevertheless. We use only as a

conjunction in this way often in everyday conversation.

It's a bit casual and we don't use it as much in writing, but it's possible to use it both in your

conversation and in writing. Now one more really interesting use of just is that we use it as a

softener to make our questions or our sentences more polite.

For example if you come over to my home

I might say

Just help yourself to anything you like or if you're eating dinner with me at my home

I could say just have as much as you would like so we can use it to be friendly or

polite or if you're asking a question

Could I just ask you a question? It's not necessary to use just but we add it as a

softener. Now

You might have noticed that we use just a lot in everyday

spoken English and that's why because we use it as a softener and we use it often to mean

so much or really to add emphasis

For example, you're just beautiful or you're just so smart. We can even use so and just

together in the same sentence

So again, we can use just and only in the same sentence with the same meaning when we mean simply. For example, you can improve your English in just 15 minutes a day

Or you can improve your English in only 15 minutes a day, and they really mean the same thing simply

However, let's look at a different example if I say I just want to talk to you for a few minutes

It's like a softener

I am using this to be a bit more polite and make a softer request. That doesn't sound as

demanding or harsh, but if I say I only want to talk to you for a few minutes

It doesn't sound as polite an emphasis is more on the limitation of the time

I'm really emphasizing that this will only take a few minutes and again, it doesn't sound as

Polite of course, it's not rude to say only but if you wanted to sound more polite

I would suggest using just now. Let's look at one other example

Let's just study for 15 minutes means let's give it a try

Let's only study for 15 minutes really puts that emphasis on the limitation of time

So I don't want to study any longer than 15 minutes and I could make this sentence with neither

Let's study for 15 minutes, and it's just straightforward

There's no kind of

softener with just there's no kind of

emphasis on the limitation of time with only so just to recap the meanings just can mean



Barely or just a little bit

simply it can be used for emphasis or as a

softener to add politeness to your sentences or questions only

Means solely


recently to introduce a negative or

unfortunate result to mean single or alone in its kind and as a conjunction like but or however

Now I would like to share some collocation and idiomatic phrases using only we're going to go quickly

But I highly suggest that you try repeating these after me to practice your English speaking. Now

these are phrases that are commonly used in everyday English conversation

so trust me when I say that you should know these because you're probably going to hear them if you speak English

long enough with native speakers.

So here we go with idiomatic phrases and collocations with only I only have one pair of

hands means that I can only do so much by myself . A face that only a mother could love means

Not a very good-looking face. It's only a question of time

meaning that something is

Inevitable and it will happen after enough time. For example global warming is only a question of time

Beauty is only skin-deep

meaning that it's important to be beautiful on the inside and outside for your eyes only

think about those private texts photo

Messages that you might send to someone that you don't want the whole internet seeing that would be for your eyes only

The Lord only knows or god only knows this is an expression or an exclamation

That we use when we are dumbfounded and really don't know what to say

Oh, the Lord only knows why that boy wears his pants. So low

Only child I do not have any siblings. So I am an only child Yolo or you only live once

means that you should take advantage of your life because you never know when it is the end. Cash only means that only

cash money paper bills are accepted if

only when you have a dream or a wish and you might say oh if only I had more money or if

only I were famous

So it's when you're introducing some kind of desire not

only this but that so not only are you smart

but you're also beautiful to only have eyes for like when you're

infatuated in love with one person and a

beautiful woman or a handsome man could walk by and you wouldn't even notice because you only have eyes for

Your true love he's not the only fish in the sea or she's not the only fish in the sea

means that well

There are other possible partners for you. Only too glad

For example if I'm at a party and I'm tired and I just want to go home. I would be only too glad

when my friends say hey, are you ready to go one?

and only when you say one and only and really emphasizes one like this is my one and only

chance I could say this is my one chance, but I'm really emphasizing it here. This is my one and only chance

Standing room only means that

The place is very crowded. Perhaps a live concert and there are no seats

So you will be expected to stand. You're only as old as you feel

This is a common phrase meaning that really youth is in your mindset to be second to none

Means you are the best to be second only to something or someone means that

You are really really good maybe in second place for something, but there is one other thing or person

Above you in ranking.

The only way to go means that there is only one logical option and if you're out shopping and

A store clerk asked you can I help you find anything? You might say

I'm only looking. Now

this one is a great segue into phrases using just because we can also say I'm just

looking and this is a very useful phrase that you can use whenever you're shopping if you

really don't want to talk with someone working at the store

If you're just window-shopping and looking around you can say I'm just looking or I'm only looking

Just do it is a phrase that became popular as the Nike slogan. Just in case

Bring an umbrella just in case because it might rain just in the knick of time

Means without much time left. I arrived just in the knick of time.

I wasn't late, but I was cutting it close

Just because means there really is no reason so why are you watching this video?

Is it because you are learning English or just because just because you if you like it?

I'm just saying is a really common phrase in conversation that it's adding some emphasis to your opinion.

So for example, your teacher might say you should really study harder

I'm just saying. So it's to emphasize someone's opinion

Just around the corner or just ahead means very close or nearby

You might stop to ask for directions. Where is there a gas station?

There's a gas station just around the corner or just ahead. Someone asks about your relationship with someone you might say

We're just good friends. If you say we're just good friends that means that you have no romantic intentions.

Just along for the ride

means that you're just going around with your friends or just there for the experience

You're not really leading in this situation. You're just enjoying the experience

I'm just along for the ride

Maybe you go to the mall with your friends and you're not looking to buy anything, but you're just along for the ride

Not just a pretty face when you see someone who's good-looking, but they also have talents or they're intelligent you might say

Hey, they're not just a pretty face don't underestimate them. It just so happens

that means by chance or luckily, for example, if you ask do you have

Four quarters for a dollar. I might say it just so happens that I do

Just in time is similar to just in the knick of time

It means you've arrived with little time to spare. Just my luck means you feel

unlucky. Oh, no, it's raining. But I wanted to go to the beach. That's just my luck.

So it's kind of a sad expression, but a little funny too

Just wondering this is really a softener, but we use it quite often

I was just wondering if you could tell me what time it is.

Just off the boat. This is the name of a TV show, but it can also be a kind of expression

that's a bit derogatory meaning someone who has just

arrived from another country. I wouldn't recommend

using it in

conversation, but you should know what it means

You just don't get it means you just don't understand. I would just as soon

means I would prefer I would just as soon still go to the beach even though it's raining

Just between you and me means I'm telling you a secret just between you and me

This is a really good English lesson, just for the heck of it means just to have fun. Why not?

There's no reason not to do this thing. So hey just for the heck of it. Let's go to the beach today

Why not? Just the thing I know just the thing that you would enjoy let me share it with you

It's just a question of time. We can also use this with only it's only a question of time meaning something that is

inevitable that will probably happen as time passes. We just don't know how long it will take

So English fluency is just a question of time and effort. Could just as well

means that I could do something else.

So maybe we were planning to go to the beach

But it's raining so I could just as well go to a movie today.

Life is just a bowl full of cherries is an expression

that means the life is just wonderful had just as soon so it's raining

We're not going to the beach you just as soon stay inside and study today

I just have a feeling so it's giving some emphasis here

I just have a feeling that it's gonna be sunny later today. So we should still go to the beach

Just ask, I want to encourage you to ask a question. I might say just ask us just ask me anything.

Just wait and see

So just be patience

and we will see time will tell just a minute.

so if you want someone to

wait instead of saying please wait

you could say just a minute or just a second if you've ever had someone knock on the door when you are in a public

Restroom you would respond with this if you're inside just a minute

Just another day at the office is an expression. That means I'm at work. This is my normal work environment

Just my cup of tea. It means something that I enjoy this beautiful weather is just my cup of tea.

Just for the record means you're giving some information that you want to share with someone just for the record

I like my coffee black

So if you ever make coffee for me now, you know, it just goes to show is when you're sharing some information

Some opinion like it just goes to show that sometimes you have to change your plans

Depending on the weather. Just let me say if you're

Interrupting or interjecting your opinion you could use this. Just let me say and then you share your opinion.

Just let me say that you're doing a great job

It's just one of those things when you're not really sure what to say. This is a great phrase to keep in your English

toolkit, it's just one of those things.

Just the facts means that you're giving some information that is not just your opinion, but it is true

It's just the facts. Also if you don't want any extra information, you want someone to get straight to the point

you could say just the facts, please just the tip of the iceberg means. This is only the beginning just whistling Dixie

Means someone who is just joking around. They're not serious. Some people just don't know when to quit

means that some people just do too much and they don't know when they should stop. It's just as well that

So when something doesn't go the way that you want it to go, you might say this

Oh, it's just as well that it's raining because I needed to get some work done today. Just a stone's throw away

means when something is very close to you, where's the gas station? It's just a stone's throw away.

Just the same, just the same means that it makes no difference.

So do you want to drink coffee or tea? It's just the same. Well, it's raining today

We're not going to the beach. It's just the same. It doesn't matter

it's not that important. Just as long as means provided that. So for example

we can go to the beach today, just as long as we study first just as long as we get our work done first

just what the doctor ordered

Means something that makes you feel good

Oh this apple pie is just what the doctor ordered or this fresh squeezed juice is just what the doctor ordered

It makes me feel healthier

Just one job you had just one job is a popular phrase when you mess something

up and you want to tell someone that they should have been able to do this job.

But that's just me means it's just my opinion.

Could just as well or you might as well is a way of giving a suggestion, so it's raining today

so you might as well just stay at home and get some work done

Don't that just beat all is a very interesting way to say I can't believe it

But this is very colloquial, it's very casual just like he's just whistling Dixie

This is not something that you'll hear all over the United States. It's more regional. It's just about time


It's just about time to finish work

Means that we're getting close to the time to finish. To just curl up and die means when you feel very embarrassed

Something embarrassing happened and I just felt like curling up and dying

But this is an idiomatic phrase. Just fell off the turnip truck.

So this is not as commonly used . Again it might be regional or a little bit old and people don't use it anymore

but it means someone who's not very smart.

Just enough, so this means you have enough and not too much.

Just now means very recently. Just passing through means you don't live in an area. You're just traveling through in a short amount of time

amount of time. Just then means like just now but in the past

So if you're telling a story you might say just then something happens

That's just the way it goes means that you have to have understanding that sometimes things go

the way that you don't want them to go but this is just the way it goes. We have to have comprehension.

All right, that is just about enough of just but this is just only the beginning.

Can you think of any other phrases or idioms that use just or only tell me in the comments.

And now, let's test your understanding

with a quiz. Which word would you use just or only.

Number one, I have

$10 which one is best here?

If you said either one, you're correct.

We can use just or only I have just 10 doll or I have only $10 because this means

simply or limited to the amount of $10.

Two, you have to try harder

The best answer for this one is you just have to try harder. I'm putting emphasis on

this phrase by using just. Number 3, I can't believe I lost my keys.

That's my luck.

Now we learned about this phrase

so, you know we should use just that's just my luck. Four, I am a

child. If you said only, you are right. I'm an only child

Five, If I

had a million dollars

We can use only to talk about desires or wishes

If only I had a million dollars and six I think

you should subscribe to go natural English on YouTube.

If you said just, you're correct.

I just think you should subscribe to go natural English on Youtube

and really you should. So, just here is used to emphasize.

If I said only

that would be strange because that means I think that you should limit your viewing to only go natural English

but there are so many great channels out there.

So, thank you so much for watching.

I hope you enjoy this lesson on just vs only.

Let me know in the comment if you have any questions, and I'll see you in another English lesson soon. Bye for now!

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