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English Grammar and Writing Tips:
     Using "Only", "Alone", "Lone", "Lonly" Correctly

Grammar <<< English Grammar and Writing Tips <<< Using "Only", "Alone", "Lone", "Lonly" Correctly



Only

We use "only" to say that something is "just one" and it must be placed before noun/pronoun or written at the end of the sentence:

Kate was the only person in the room when George entered. (correct)
Kate was the lonely person in the room when George entered. (incorrect!)

This book is the only one in her library in Spanish. (correct)
This book is the lonely one in her library in Spanish. (incorrect!)

I'll say only one word to describe her: charming! (correct)
I'll say lonely one word to describe her: charming! (incorrect!)

My best friend is the only child in her family. (correct)
My best friend is the alone child in her family. (incorrect!)

Our neighbors have an only son. (correct)
Our neighbors have an lonely son. (incorrect!)

This software is for personal use only. (correct)
This software is for personal use alone. (incorrect!)

Alone

We use "alone" with the meaning "nobody else" or "by oneself":

Last month I moved to an apartment and now I live alone. (correct)
Last month I moved to an apartment and now I live lonely. (incorrect!)

My father doesn't like to be alone. (correct!)
My father doesn't like to be only. (incorrect!)

The whole family went out and Kate stayed at home alone. (correct!)
The whole family went out and Kate stayed at home only. (incorrect!)

Perer was walking down the street alone when he saw an old friend. (correct!)
Perer was walking down the street only when he saw an old friend. (incorrect!)

This diet alone couldn't help you to get slimmer. You shold do exercises. (correct!)
This diet only couldn't help you to get slimmer. You shold do exercises. (incorrect!)

Lone

"Lone" is an adjective with the same meaning as "alone" but it has a different place in the English sentence. "Alone" comes after the noun, "lone" comes before the noun:

She is a lone worker. (correct!)
She is an alone worker. (incorrect!)

But we say:
The worker is alone. (correct!)
The worker is lone. (incorrect!)

Lonely (adj.)

We use "lonely" to say that someone feels depressed and sad being alone, or among people.

After the divorce with his wife Steve feels lonely. (correct!)
After the divorce with his wife Steve feels only. (incorrect!)

My cousin lives abroad and often she feels lonely there. (correct!)
My cousin lives abroad and often she feels only there. (incorrect!)

I live alone but I do not feel lonely. (correct!)
I live alone but I do not feel only. (incorrect!)

Although Kate is always surrounded by friends, she sometimes feels lonely. (correct!)
Although Kate is always surrounded by friends, she sometimes feels only. (incorrect!)

Lonesome (adj.), (mainly US & Canada), (synonym for "lonely")

We use "lonesome" to express feelings such as depression, sadness, lack of friends, companionship, etc. We also use"lonesome"to say that someone is lonely or deserted in situation; remote, desolate, or isolated.

Joanna feels lonesome when her husband is away. (correct!)
Joanna feels only when her husband is away. (incorrect!)

David spent a lonesome evening at home. (correct!)
David spent a only evening at home. (incorrect!)

This is a lonesome road to take. (correct!)
This is alone road to take. (incorrect!)





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