"She's only eating a salad."
Translation:Ella solo come una ensalada.
is the meaning of this 'solo' 1 She's only eating a salad, it's just a salad, a mere salad, a trifling salad or.... 2 She alone, only her, this person out of many others, is the one person eating a salad? Can someone clarify if these nuances are expressed by this 'solo' gracias!
My guess would be that it would be 'Ella sola come...' if it meant 'just she'. But then what would 'Él solo come una ensalada' mean'? Can we put the 'solo' directly in front of 'una ensalada' to emphasise 'only a salad'? And does the word 'solamente' exist, and if so does it leave the same chance of ambiguity?
In English, there is a difference in meaning between "She is only eating a salad" and "she is eating only a salad". In the first, perhaps ahe didn't make it, but is just eating it. In the second case, she is mot eatong a sandwich also, just a salad. Does the placement of "solo" in Spanish also convey these differences?
I'm pretty sure it's because 'solo' is not acting as an adjective here but as an adverb, so it does not change to match the gender of the noun the verb is acting on. In other words, adverbs modify verbs, not nouns, so the gender of the noun does not matter.
An example of solo transforming to sola is:
Estoy sola. I (a woman) am alone.
Because here the word 'solo/sola' is acting as an adjective, describing the condition of the woman which is feminine.
Hope this helped!