Say someone notices there's frost and ice on the road. "Wow, there's ice on the road..." they exclaim. They then look at the temperature reading and see 9 degrees celsius, "...but it's only 9 degrees outside!"

Is that correct usage of the word "only"?

Thanks!

  • Yes, in context, it is correct usage. In this case the only refers to the fact that the air temperature is not cold enough to produce ice (at least in theory). – John Lawler Dec 3 '13 at 19:52
  • That's what I thought. Thank you! – Futuremodern Dec 3 '13 at 20:07
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, this is correct, "only" on this context means "not at the level implied by the other measurement mentioned." Another example might be "he's taking calculus but he's only fourteen."

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