"They only drank water."
Translation:Sie tranken nur Wasser.
"Sie tranken nur Wasser" is more like "they drank only water" (the emphasize on "water". not juice, coffee etc). But the English original sentence was "They ONLY drank water" the emphasize is on "only". For example: - did they eat anything before leaving? Did they do anything else? - no, they only drank water (and did nothing else) and ran to the station.
- Did they drink some coffee before leaving?
- No, they drank only water (and nothing else beside water).
Do you see what I mean? How can I translate it in German so that the emphasize would be on action "only drank water" and NOT on "drank only water"? Hope I was clear )))
You have only two possible orders for the German sentence because the verb needs to be at the second position:
- Sie tranken nur Wasser.
- Nur Wasser tranken sie.
"Sie tranken nur Wasser" includes the situation you described. By the way, you can emphasize words by your voice, too, not only by the order of the words.