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Note 86 – The word ‘just’

I almost got stuck on what to blog about tonight.  After a full day at work, sometimes the brain just doesn’t want to take anything else in.  I eventually decided on writing about the word just and its meanings.

John Seely in his book the Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation, explains that just is an adverb and has two meanings:

  • A short time ago
  • Only

Consider the following sentences:

1. He had just finished the last question, when the examiner asked everyone to stop writing

(He had a short time ago finished……)

2. I just have five sweets left in my jar

(I only have….)

Abiguity with the word just

There can be ambiguity when using the word just in a sentence.  Please see example of this below:

3. Jack has just finished the sweets in his jar

Does this mean that Jack has only finished the sweets in his jar and nothing else, or is it that Jack has finished the sweets in his far just now?

John Seely says that “if you want to be absolutely precise, you may have to replace just, and/or add other words.”

3a. Jack has only finished the sweets in his jar – nothing else

3b. Jack finished the sweets in his jar just now

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog.  I blog daily, so please return tomorrow to learn some more. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes the introduction to my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

John Seely  The Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation, USA


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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