Where does the “only” go?


One of the most frequent edits I find myself making when editing other people’s writing is moving the modifier “only” to its rightful spot close to the word or phrase it modifies. What does this sentence mean: “I only drive to work and back”? Does it mean that’s the only place to which you drive your car, or does it mean you never take the bus to work? It’s hard to tell what you intend. Move the “only” to just before the word “to,”and it’s clear that you mean that you don’t drive the car anyplace else. Leave it where it is, and it really means you don’t use any other form of transport to work. If the latter is what you mean, a less potentially confusing choice would be to say, “I drive my car to work because the bus is always late.”

Just something to think about when your fingers are flying across the keys.

About Peter Feldman

I'm a marketing and communications pro with more than 25 years experience helping professional service businesses get the right message to the right people in the right way.

Posted on July 20, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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