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The emphasis of adding "just" in the phrase "I'm just glad" is lost on me. What makes it different from just "I'm glad"?

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    There are at least two interpretations, since just means only and therefore has a focus determined by actual stress and rhythm in speech, but only by the imagination and the mind's ear in print. One, with stress on glad, is what @WS2 suggests, where glad is picked out of the range of all possible emotions as the only one experienced. The other is contrastive and picks glad as the least desirable of all expectable emotions in context, but is nevertheless the only one experienced by the speaker. I'm just glad, I'm not overjoyed. – John Lawler Oct 17 '14 at 18:04
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    Without context, I don't see how we can answer this. Perhaps the speaker means "I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm ecstatic - I'm just glad". – FumbleFingers Oct 17 '14 at 18:06
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    This phrase might also be uttered when the speaker does not want to provide an explanation or motivation for their feelings. "I don't know why its so. I'm just glad." – Lumberjack Oct 17 '14 at 18:30
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    If one were to say to me "I'm JUST glad," where "JUST" is spoken with considerable emphasis, I would interpret that to mean "I'm not going to analyze things (at the moment, at least) but just express my unqualified joy that Thing A occurred." As in, "Don't worry about the car, I'm JUST glad you're alright." – Hot Licks Oct 17 '14 at 19:39
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"Just" might signify the absence of an external reason.

Mr. A: "Did you get some good news? You look glad."
Mr. B: "I'm just glad."

Or that you want to avoid discussion about causality.

Mr. A: "Why are you smiling? Were you making silly faces at me while I turned my back?"
Mr. B: "I'm just glad."

It could also mean merely.

Mr. A: Are you ecstatic?
Mr. B: I'm just glad.

In my experience, "just glad" is usually part of a larger construction, expressing relief or comfort in spite of some averse outcome.

Hungover Person: I'm just glad we didn't drink anything else, after those ten shots of tequila.

Parent After a Car Wreck: Forget about the car, kiddo; I'm just glad you're ok.

"I'm just glad" by itself sounds somewhat kurt, strange... if that helps you derive any meaning.

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I don't have any other sentiments or opinions about the matter - just that of gladness.

  • Oh, you're one of those glad people, eh? – Hot Licks Oct 17 '14 at 21:22

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