According to Garner’s Modern American Usage, the best placement of “only” is precisely before the words intended to be limited. DL’s translation is incorrect, unless the intended meaning is something like, “I don’t want world peace, I don’t want presents for my birthday, I only want one tomato.” If, however, the meaning is something like, “I don’t want two or three tomatoes, I want only ONE tomato, then the DL translation as it currently stands is incorrect.
See this quote from "http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/modifiers.htm", one of my preferred grammar resources.
"The issue of the proper placement of "only" has long been argued among grammarians. Many careful writers will insist that "only" be placed immediately before the word or phrase it modifies. Thus "I only gave him three dollars" would be rewritten as "I gave him only three dollars."
Some grammarians, however, have argued that such precision is not really necessary, that there is no danger of misreading "I only gave him three dollars" and that "only" can safely and naturally be placed between the subject and the verb.
The argument has been going on for two hundred years."
"Basic Principle: Modifiers are like teenagers: they fall in love with whatever they're next to. Make sure they're next to something they ought to modify!"
Note that this "basic principle" doesn't say whether the modifier goes before or after the word it's modifying.
Taken literally, "I only want one tomato" is never true. People always want other things as well: love, understanding, respect, perhaps a new car. But no one takes the sentence literally. "I only want one tomato" is simply a colloquial way of saying "I want only one tomato." Of course, "I want only one tomato" can be true, provided you regard "only one" as modifying "tomato."
I only gave him three dollars. I did not bludgeon him.
I gave him only three dollars. I did not give him either of the fifty dollar bills in my wallet at the time.
Note: I am not arguing for either interpretation. Even if you accept the validity of the proximity argument, you should still recognize talented writers often bend or break rules for artistic effect. (Some of us are just loquaciously incoherent.)
Yes, "a tomato" should be accepted, but your first statement implies "one" must be "uno" or "una" whereas "a" is "un". This is untrue. Both article and number behave as adjectives and must match gender with feminine nouns -a, or drop the -o before masculine nouns:
A tomato - Un tomate
One tomato - Un tomate
A carrot - Una zanahoria
One carrot - Una zanahoria
I actually like the comments here. I can't see the reports that people send but the discussion is very helpful. So keep doing it! I will say that when I've wanted to report something, the button options don't address the problem most of the time. So I'm not sure the problems are ever fixed. One time the select an answer options didn't even include the correct one! But reporting that issue wasn't an option.
This isn't entirely correct. The "solo" in this DL sentence is the adverb "sólo".
Sólo and solamente are adverbs. As such they can modify verbs or adjectives. In the past "sólo" the adverb carried the accent mark to distinguish it from "solo" the adjective, but now the accent mark is only included if possible ambiguity exists.
Solo and único are adjectives. As such they modify nouns. They must match number and gender with the nouns they are modifying, allowing for these variations: Solo; sola; solos; solas; único; única; únicos; únicas. By comparison the adverbs "sólo" and "solamente" are invariant.
In this DL sentence, with the singular masculine noun "tomate" the adjective would be "solo", but the placement before the verb tells us that this is the adverb "sólo" written without the accent.
Solo [adverb] quiero un tomate - I only want one/a tomato.
Technically, with the adverb modifying the verb, a tomato is my only want, not world peace or anything else.
But if we translate "un" as "one" then it would be common to interpret "only" as referring to that number, even though this is more accurately represented by moving the adverb to modify the adjective:
Quiero solo [adverb] un tomate - I want only one tomato.
There's also the interpretation that I want a tomato on its own, with nothing else. For this I guess it would be possible to use the adjective "solo" to modify the noun:
Quiero un tomate solo [adjective] - I want a tomato only.
All that said, the original DL sentence could be interpreted as any of these versions, so when it comes to "only" (and possibly "solo") placement, I think context is more important than technical precision.
This example is perfect, because it beautifully illustrates the difference between solo quiero and quiero solo. Solo quiero means "I merely" or "I just" want a tomato. Just gimme a tomato! Whereas quiero solo means "I specifically want" a tomato---as opposed to a potato.
Note that in neither case is exactly one tomato specified. For that, you really should say "I want a single tomato:" Quiero un solo tomate.
Printed in red I was given "the meaning" of the sentence : "I just fancy one tomato" Luckily though, the translation here looks quite sane. Only that there seems to be this 'only' placed somewhat controversially. " I only pinch ( meaning not crushed) one tomato" OR Did you say "I pinched only one (not 2-3-more) tomato. "
SO I'm only saying , it depends where you have the main stress in the sentence. In this case it should be on the word ONE , not on WANT.
But we can think it again: Since the predicate 'quiero' carries the subject too (Yo quiero) And diminishing 'Solo' is put there first, you may as well diminish it, too , to begin with. So that would turn to be : "Only I want..." ( but not anyone else ). The word order is a bit more complex in English than in Spanish, I guess...
In the Yucatan region, for instance, this sentence asks for one tomatillo. Here's a link explaining: http://www.raecrothers.ca/blog/mexican-spanish-peculiarities-tomate-and-jitomate/
I love the sign pictured at the top of the link you provided: I want to grow my own food, but I can't find any taco seeds.
Note: the picture of the green fruit in that link is of a green, unripened tomato. It has distinct narrow leaves around the stem. A tomatillo has a single stem and a paper-like husk. About ten years ago I was buying tomatillos in a Philly area grocery store. The cashier asked what they were and said no when I replied, "tomatillos." I kept my thoughts to myself.
Rick Bayless points out that in some regions if you ask for pasilla chiles (dried chilaca chiles), you will be given ancho chiles (dried poblano chiles).
Because it leaves out the word ¨solo¨ (only) and changes the sentence´s meaning.
Solo quiero un tomate: Does it mean "I only want one tomato" (i.e. I do not want anything else) or does it mean "I only want one tomato" (i.e. I do not want more tomatoes, but I might also want onions, for instance). The lesson accepts both, but they are not the same