The correct syntactic usage of “Only”

Question #1: Which of the following sentences has the correct syntactic usage of the word “only”?

Question #2: What do the remaining sentences mean?

Examples:

  1. Only I gave him $1.
  2. I only gave him $1.
  3. I gave only him $1.
  4. I gave him only $1.
  5. I gave him $1 only.

Answer

I believe all five are syntactically correct (under my own personal command of the English language).

  1. Only I gave him $1. I was the only person to give him $1.
    This might suggest that there was a situation in which others might have also given $1, but didn’t.

    “He was begging for a dollar to use in the vending machine, but people passed him by. Only I gave him $1.”

  2. I only gave him $1. I gave him money, but only $1.
    It probably implies that $1 is not that much to give.

    “He was two dollars short of the soda. I only gave him $1.”

  3. I gave only him $1. He was the only person to whom I gave $1.
    It might imply that I could have given $1 to others as well, but didn’t.

    “There were beggars up and down the street, but I gave only him $1.”

  4. I gave him only $1. I would consider this identical and interchangeable with ‘I only gave him $1’, though I think this is the less common choice.

  5. I gave him $1 only. Identical in meaning to ‘I only gave him $1′, with extra emphasis on the ‘only’.

    “You accuse me of giving him $5, but I gave him $1 only!”

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Karanjeet Kaur , Answer Author : Mari-Lou A

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