My friend sent me this. I'm wondering if it is correct. What is the use of "only" here ?

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  • 3
    No, it's not correct. It's a common mistake Indian speakers make when translating word-for-word from Hindi. English doesn't have words that denote Hindi's yahin and wahin – Tushar Raj May 4 '15 at 12:56
  • In situations we use wahin, (there only [sic]), a native speaker would say Are you there? or Is that where you are? if they wish to emphasize the place, or Are you still there? if they wish to emphasize the time. – Tushar Raj May 4 '15 at 12:57
  • 1
    It's not ungrammatical, but I'd agree it's unacceptable used as you describe it. Context might license your example: 'The Eleventh Army now has control of the Elbonian plains.' ... 'Are you there only [or have you footholds in other regions]?' // 'I'm writing a book on the wave nature of matter while I'm staying here in Bognor.' ... 'Are you there only!?' – Edwin Ashworth May 4 '15 at 13:02

It is not grammatically wrong.

However, as mentioned in the comments, the "exclusivity" added to the question by adding only is definitely not intended and is generally added by mainly Hindi (or other Indian dialect speaking) speakers with an intention to emphasise "being there" or other similar action.

The correct way of expressing the same intent/emotion/emphasis in english would be using (or replacing the only with) something like right or exactly etc.


Are you right there?

I am standing exactly in front of the shop.