Can "seulement" be used in place of "mais" in generally the same contexts where we'd be able to use "only" in place of "but" in English?
"seulement" at the beginning of a sentence expresses a restriction, a contradiction, a reserve...
Therefore, depending on context, you may translate it with: but, yet, however, though...
without context, we have to assume that the adverb is somewhat "restrictive", like but, yet or however. so, yes "pourtant" or "toutefois", "mais", "or" would all do the job properly.
I think that where we use "only" instead of "but" in English you could use "seulement" in French, but I think that "seulement" is used more in French as a conjunction than we use "only" in English as a conjunction.
Of course, I could be wrong. I will try to narrow the search for only used as a conjunction. There will be no way to verify that some of these aren't for "not only...but also" which is not the same thing at all.
Oops, that is about all conjunctions. Oh well, useful information none the less. Yes, I am wrong. See my next post for the real information.
"Seulement" is an adverb.
- Je veux seulement/juste du lait = I only/just want milk
Je veux du lait seulement/uniquement = I want milk only.
Non seulement... mais aussi = not only/merely... but also
Je comprends votre idée; seulement/pourtant/toutefois/néanmoins/mais, je ne l'approuve pas = I understand your idea; however/but/yet, I don't approve of it.
"Only" is also an adverb and that is its greatest use.
"Not only...but also" is a correlative conjunction in English.
"I understand your idea, only I don't approve of it." I hear people use "only" in this way, but I have never seen "only" listed as a separate conjunction. Languages change; so, perhaps one day it will be recognized.
Wait! It is recognized! In English, as an adjective, as an adverb and as a conjunction! Be sure to scroll all the way down. So, perhaps we should report it as another alternative? When will the grammar books catch up to the dictionaries?
Merriam-Webster has it listed as a conjunction for American English. Both the Oxford and Cambridge recognize that "only" is also used as a conjunction as well as an adjective and adverb.
In French, the adjective is a different word "seul/e/s/es" and "seulement" is an adverb, but under difficulties the Larousse dictionary explains that "seulement" can be used at the beginning of a clause like "mais" which is a conjunction. So, the French recognize that "seulement" can be used as a conjunction. They just don't call it one?
They also list that it is like "toutefois" and "cependant" which are adverbs which when used at the beginning of a clause still also need a conjunction. The examples show "si toutefois" and "et cependant" while "seulement" appears by itself. It is okay!
We still don't have everyone calling "only" a conjunction, even though we may have been using it this way longer than the French (since the 14th century) and we name words by use.
Not to get lost in semantics or grammatical intricacies, I would suggest you keep in mind how "only" translates into French when used as an adjective in English (ie modifying a noun), when used as an adverb (ie modifying a verb) and when it starts a sentence (then, it does not matter much whether it is a conjunction or an adverb used as a conjunction, does it?).
Is it me, or is it the comma that makes this sentence weird? I put "alone, i am here", purely because "only i am here", does not need a comma.
You have failed to ask the question, what does "seulement, je suis ici" mean. It does not mean "alone" of "Only I am here" (meaning I am the only one here). It indicates that you may have just been through something challenging or problematical but even so, you arrived, i.e., "But here I am!"
Yes, unless it really needs that "ici" is clearly specified, like "elle est là-bas, mais je suis ici".
Thanks. So, for example, if somebody asks me about some person which is not present in the office, I can say "Elle n'est pas la" and it's ok not to use ici in this context?
Is Mr X at the office today? oui il est là / non, il n'est pas là.
"But here I am" is rejected which seems kind of weird given that it seems like the more natural English word order to me...
I thought there should be a liaison 's' in 'je suis ici', but none is uttered in the example. It is optional in this case?
Is this how you would say, "But, I am still here."?
Mais, je suis toujours ici.
When "seulement" is at the beginning of a sentence, with a comma, it means "but/yet/however".
It does not modify "ici", in which case, the placement would be different: "je suis juste ici".
I have never come across the word "seulement" before so I checked the meaning by clicking it and was offered "only" or "just" and so I selected one of them and was incorrect! If you are going to give me the wrong definition, how can I learn? If I knew it already, what would I need duolingo for?
Haven't you found a good on-line dictionary yet?
"Seulement" is an adverb with one main meaning: "only" or sometimes "but" or "yet"
- j'ai une botte seulement = I have one boot only
- j'ai mes deux bottes, seulement je ne sais pas où sont mes chaussettes = I have both my boots but/only/yet (the problem is) I don't know where my socks are.
Very close to "only", "seulement" can translate to "just" or "even"
- j'ai seulement mis mes bottes = I have only/just put my boots on.
- sais-tu seulement de quoi le livre parle ? = do you even know what this book is about?
sais-tu seulement de quoi le post parle? I don't need an online dictionary because I have a physical dictionary with me every time I take part in Duolingo. My problem with this incidence is that I was offered suitable translations but not the one that applied in the case. In a learning situation one expects appropriate help.
Seeing the confusion about seulement vs seul in a few of the questions, I have a related question of my own. Is there a difference between saying you're alone and you're lonely, in French?
I am from Quebec and normally we say, "Mais, je suis ici". Hearing seulement is that sentence is kind of weird to me.
In English, those expressions fit perfectly in this case. However, this use of "seulement" is restrictive and you would not normally use "seulement" for "nevertheless"(néanmoins) or "even so" (malgré cela/ça/tout, quand même).
Although I have reached Level 3 in this lesson, this is the first time I have encountered "seulement." Duolingo drives me crazy in this way! How are we supposed to write the correct answer, if we have not seen it before? I wrote "surement," knowing it must be wrong, but "surement" had been used previouisly. Mon dieu.