How they can change the meaning

Limiting Modifiers

Limiting modifiers such asonlyandalwaysenforce restrictions on the subject, noun, or pronoun they immediately precede. Check these two sentences to note how the limiting modifier “only” changes the meaning of the sentence when attached to different words.

I went to receive my brother at the only station in the village.

Only I went to receive my brother at the station in the village.

If a limiting modifier does not precede the subject or noun, the meaning of an entire sentence can change. Notice the difference in the following sentences:

Only Jessica wants pizza.

This sentence implies that Jessica is the only person who wants pizza.

Jessica wants pizza only.

On the other hand, the sentence above indicates that Jessica wants pizza and nothing else.

The following is a list of other common limiting modifiers:




At first


The best way to ensure that a limiting modifier is used right in a sentence is to consider the meaning that is to be conveyed and ensure the subject or noun associated with that meaning is placed as close as possible to the limiting modifier.

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