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I have just come across this sentence, which sounds a little strange to me.

I do have friends, just none that live nearby.

I would have said "just none (of them) live nearby."

Is it possible to add "of them" in this sentence? And omit the "that"? In short, are those three options correct?

I do have friends, ...

a) ...just none that live nearby. b) ...just none of them live nearby. c) ...just none live nearby.

Thanks.

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    With 'but', all three are available. I'd say that only (a) is acceptable with 'just'; you need 'it's just that' with (b) and (c). 'Just' is not a coordinator. 'Just' here performs a Herculean task. 'I do have friends – just none that live nearby.' = 'I do have friends – the situation is not as categorical as that; I merely have none that live nearby.' You can see why people just pretend that the term 'adverb' will do for 'what on earth is this?' – Edwin Ashworth Jun 27 '15 at 23:35
  • You can see why people just pretend that the term 'adverb' will do for 'what on earth is this?' +1 – anongoodnurse Jun 28 '15 at 2:10
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The original sentence is okay grammatically, especially in spoken English. It is a bit terse, though. In written English, I would suggest an em-dash, rather than a comma—for stronger contrast (and I would substitute who for that, although there are many who might argue that that is just fine!)

Anyway, one might rephrase it in any of these ways:

  • I do have friends, but none of them live nearby.

  • I do have friends, but none who live nearby.

  • I do have friends—it's just that [the problem is that] none of them live nearby.

The construction you suggested

  • I do have friends, just none of them live nearby.

Is not much better than the original. It might be colloquial, but it is not common in formal, written English. Typically, one would use a conjunction, rather than "just"—and probably a semicolon as well {; but, ; however, ; unfortunately ;alas, ; regrettably,}

  • I wouldn’t be so quick to say that “just none (of them) live nearby” is not a correct usage of just. It will probably still be considered nonstandard by many, and colloquial by most; but it is exceedingly common and used, as far as I know, throughout the Anglosphere. In (formal) writing, it’s best avoided, but colloquially, it’s perfectly acceptable to many (myself included). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 28 '15 at 12:03
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    Duly noted. I toned down my answer accordingly. I just have to remember that one doesn't need to say need, that one should never say never, and that it's often incorrect to say incorrect! – Brian Hitchcock Jun 28 '15 at 14:32

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