Vocabulary: ONLY, JUST, BARELY, MERELY

http://www.engvid.com/ This lesson is the ONLY lesson of its kind! I will do more than JUST teach you English vocabulary. You MERELY need five minutes and will BARELY have to do any work to understand how to use these new words. All you have to do is take the quiz here: http://www.engvid.com/vocabulary-only-just-barely-merely/

TRANSCRIPT:
If only I were a — oh, hi. Sorry, I was just looking at a picture. I’ll put that away. If you’ve been to Toronto and you know Now magazine, and you know the back of Now magazine — I’m a bad, bad putty cat. Anyway, this lesson is about “only” and “just”. I’m going to give you two more words that we also use, but specifically “only” and “just”. Why? Because in English, these two words are used interchangeably. “Interchange” means “to change things”, like you take this one, you take that one: Change them in different places.

All right. Between. Because they have similar meanings, it’s interchangeable. It doesn’t matter that much. This lesson is for — in case you were bothered by that — it’s our special guy — it’s like the Oscars here — Allan from the Philippines wrote to us on Facebook, and I wrote it on my Chapters receipt. Anyway, Allan wanted to know what is the difference, and when do you use them. So why don’t we go to the board and take a look.

Ah, Mr. E is here before me. I like making things rhyme. And Mr. E is saying, “James merely has to do 1 lesson and he barely got it on the board. If only I were the teacher”. Now, if you read this, there seems to be a limitation or a limit to something. Right. “Merely” means, like, just a small amount. “Barely”: also small. And “only”: seemingly small. What’s the difference? Let’s go to the board.
“Just”: “I’m just a gigolo, everywhere I go”. David Lee, I’m stealing your stuff. Don’t sue me. Okay. When we say “just”, we use usually — in English, it means “exactly”, “just”. “Just five people”. “Just to the city”, exactly. I’m lying a little bit. We also have “just”, and it can be used a little bit like “not that much”. Right. “It’s just two of us coming for dinner.” Not many of us. Exactly two, and it’s not a lot. So you have to listen to the context. Okay. When you hear “just”, people are saying “exactly”, and in some ways they’re saying, “and it’s not a lot of stuff”. Okay. “It’s just two dollars”. Well how much is it exactly? Well it’s two dollars. We don’t need to say “just”. We say it to say, “it’s not that much, relax”. It’s a tooney. All right. Go to Tim Hortons. Get your tooney, which is two dollars. “It’s just two dollars” — not that much, and an exact amount.

There’s another use for “just”, okay? And it doesn’t follow what the other words we’re going to do, but you should hear it or know what it means because it’s used a lot for law: “just”. It’s short for “justice”. If something is not fair or not right, not correct, we’ll say it is “not just” — older English. You’ll hear it in law, but you won’t really hear people say it on the street. “It is not just. I did not get milk with my cookies!” You know, but in a court case they’ll go, “We need to be more just in our society”, or in university. So you’ll see here: “it’s not a just decision” — it’s not fair! It’s not right, it’s not morally right. Morals, you know, like lying and stealing and cheating. “He should go back to court.” You hear it in court, okay?

I know you see “merely”, but it will be merely a moment before we come back. We have to go here. First the big guys, then the little guys. I said we’d start with “just”, now we’re going to go to “only”. Okay? “Only” has an adverb usage, and it means “limited to”. “Only”: “Limited to a certain extent”. And our example here: “There are only 100 tigers alive.” It’s limited, right? Adjective use, adjective. “One of a kind”. “Only one of a kind”, right? “He is an only child”. It describes the child. How — what kind of child? He’s an “only” child, like a “big child”, a “small child”, an “only child”. Another use for it: a conjunction. Okay. It’s common. You may not see it as such because we use “and” a lot, but we use it because we have this meaning of “limited to” — I’m going really fast, so I’ll slow down so that not only I can understand myself, okay? “Limited to” plus “one of a kind”. In this case, it’s not just “and”, it’s an exception, “except that”. So we’re saying the idea may be similar, but there is a difference. So it’s really useful when you’re using your English: a conjunction that gives you an exception. Nice, huh? And you thought it was “just” little English we were doing or “only” English. In this case, I would say, she’s like my girlfriend, only better. You know, because, like, she’s a girlfriend, and she’s better, right? “Except that”. So that’s how we use “only” and “just”, okay? Those are the big guns, you know. Those are the ones we use a lot.

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