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GRAMMAR GURU

Only here, only there

During breeding time, only the female Spotted Sandpiper arrives early, fights for territory and mates with two or more males. During breeding time, the only female Spotted Sandpiper shows up early, fights for territory and fools around.

During breeding time, the female Spotted Sandpiper arrives early, fights for territory and only mates with good-looking single males.

See? Where you put only makes a big difference. It should go right next to whatever you want it to apply to.

Quiz
Tell me where to put only in this sentence to reflect the three statements that follow it:

"The White-Breasted Nuthatch performs a tail-fan-back-ruffle while arguing with other birds."

1. No other bird does this.

2. The bird doesn't do anything but this during disputes.

3. The bird doesn't behave this way with any other creatures but birds.

Answers
1. Only the White-Breasted Nuthatch (Prove it!)

2. only performs a (Prove it!)

3. with other birds only (Prove it!)

Ellie Grossman is the author of "The Grammatically Correct Handbook." Visit her at www.thegrammarguru.com.