Here is a wonderful example that illustrates why it is important to be precise!
Professor Ernest Brennecke of Columbia University demonstrated how the placement of ONE WORD in a sentence can alter the meaning of the sentence completely.
- ONLY I hit him in the eye yesterday. (No one else did.)
- I ONLY hit him in the eye yesterday. (Did not slap him.)
- I hit ONLY him in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit others.)
- I hit him ONLY in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit outside the eye.)
- I hit him in ONLY the eye yesterday. (Not other organs.)
- I hit him in the ONLY eye yesterday. (He doesn’t have another eye.)
- I hit him in the eye ONLY yesterday. (Not today.)
- I hit him in the eye yesterday ONLY. (Did not wait for today.)
Need we say more! 🙂
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