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I would like to know what the difference is between the following sentences:

  • A PM (project manager) can only track so many items
  • Only PM can track so many items

Is the first sentence grammatically correct ?

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closed as off topic by Matt E. Эллен, Mahnax, MετάEd, FumbleFingers, kiamlaluno Sep 3 '12 at 23:51

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I'm afraid proofreading questions are off topic for this Q&A site. Please read the faq for more information. –  Matt E. Эллен Aug 14 '12 at 9:08
In its current form, this question is too basic for this site. Please support our proposed sister site for English language learners. Thank you. –  RegDwigнt Aug 14 '12 at 9:09
-1 research not shown. –  MετάEd Sep 2 '12 at 5:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The first sentence using "can only" is expressing a limitation of the PM. It says that the PM has an upper limit to the number of items he can track.

The second sentence using "Only a PM can" is expressing a unique capability of the PM. It says that nobody else except a PM is capable of tracking so many items.

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i got what you explained for the second sentence, but the first sentence. Still confused about the first one. Is it as same as "a PM can track so many items" –  ttran Aug 14 '12 at 4:34
@ttran. more like "a PM can track this many but not any more" –  mgb Aug 14 '12 at 4:36
@ttran- There is some amount of items that a PM is able to track. IF he tries to track more than that he will fail. The amount he is able to track may not be known or may just be unspecified, so the speaker uses "so many" to mean some unspecified but definitely bounded number. –  Jim Aug 14 '12 at 5:03
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/so_many, meaning 1. Not meaning 2. This is triggered by only, because meaning 2 doesn't really make sense with only. –  RegDwigнt Aug 14 '12 at 9:11
thanks all for your answer, they are helpful to me –  ttran Aug 14 '12 at 13:26

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