• If I Only Knew Where to Place “Only”!


    Consider this sentence and count all possible interpretations of this statement  if we add “only” in different strategic positions.  This is an excellent example for instructors to use to demonstrate  the importance of adverb placement to their students.  Let’s count all the possibilities here.  I will start with a few, but not all of the possibilities.  Please contribute other possible scenarios in the comments.

    1.  Only she told him that she loved him.  Meaning: she was the only person to tell him that, but there could be other people who loved him.
    2.  She told him that she loved only him.  Meaning: she told him that she loved only him and nobody else.
    3.  She told him only that she loved him.  Meaning: that was the only thing she told him, and nothing else.
    4.  She told him that only she loved him.  Meaning: She told him that she was the only person who loved him (nobody else did).


    So, how many other possibilities do you see here? :)


  • Surprise, surprise!

    American Humor, ESLMany jokes are based on ambiguity of some kind.  Ambiguity is a situation when the same word or a combination of words could be understood in different ways.  The ambiguities arise mostly in homophones (words that have the same pronunciation but different spellings and meanings) and homonyms (words that have the same pronunciation and spelling, but different meanings). A joke that exploits similar sounding words with different meanings is called a pun.  Let’s take a look at one of them.

    This joke is based on a pun; in this case, two meanings of the same word. Which word?

  • Past Perfect….for sale?

    images-1Of course you know that there is an English tense with this name.  But what kind of a store or a shop could have this name?  There is one in my town, and I pass by it often.  I think it’s a very smart way to name it, considering the kind of merchandise they sell.  What do you think they sell there?