In this line "I said to my agent I only want to work with even bigger stars" (from the Graham Norton Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw_o8LYX5dw), what is the language term for the word "only"?

  • 2
    It’s a focusing modifier, here an adverb. Surely we must have duplicates about this? – tchrist Dec 3 '17 at 15:32
  • Even is also a focusing modifier, and it's also an adverb, modifying bigger. That's a very complex sentence, with two focusing modifiers and a comparative construction; it's not easy to understand. – John Lawler Dec 3 '17 at 16:18
  • "I said to my agent [that] I only want to work with even bigger starts". – Lambie Dec 3 '17 at 16:24
  • 1
    It's quite straightforward. "Only" is an adverb functioning as a focusing modifier. Here it is modifying the verb phrase want to work with even bigger stars. You didn't ask, but "even" is not a focusing modifier but a degree adverb modifying "bigger". Incidentally, do not confuse the adverb "only" with the adjective "only" that is found in examples like My only reservation. – BillJ Dec 3 '17 at 16:50

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