"Why did he buy only one apple at the market?"
Translation:Pourquoi il n'a acheté qu'une seule pomme au marché ?
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Yes. It makes the French closer to the English. As I read the English (others may disagree) the question is about the number of apples he chose to buy. So 'seule' gives the necessary emphasis. Had one apple been the only thing he bought, the English would more naturally have been 'why did he only buy AN apple at the market?' The way it's phrased doesn't rule out the possibility that he bought other things at the market at the same time, it's confined to asking why, when he could gave bought more apples, he only bought one. Without 'seule' and with 'une' translatable as 'one' or 'an', the French would have been wholly ambiguous whereas the English, in my view, is less so.
No, no and NO! It isn't "pourquoi il n'a acheté qu'une pomme" but "Pourquoi n'a t-il acheté qu'une pomme"! Really fed up with this blatant disrespect of the French interrogative mode rules!!! It's just scandalous.
It is not only difficult, it is impossible. But you're right, that's exactly the issue. And that's what explains most of the gross errors and inconsistencies in the app. On the other hand, that still does not explain its appalling level of responsiveness when it comes to making corrections ....
Does this French sentence mean the only thing he bought was one apple and no other items or is it just saying that the number of apples he bought was one?
The English sentence in context could just be about the number of apples he bought on his shopping trip, while saying nothing about the other items he might have purchased.
For example, this story:
Speaker One: "John went shopping for fruit. He bought three watermelons, a pound of strawberries and an apple"
Speaker Two: "Why did he only buy one apple?"
Speaker One: "The aardvark ate the rest."
Speaker Two: "You're weird."
Speaker One: "No I'm not, I'm Glaswegian."
That's like text messaging lingo: qu' + une = qu + 1. :) There are many similar things. 6né (six né) for ciné which is itself short for cinéma. Or "2 ri 1", deux ri un, meaning de rien. One TV show had a teenager typing Je vé pa for Je [ne] vais pas.
Que doesn't work like the true negatives ( jamais, rien, plus ), which come after the auxiliary. (example: Je n'ai rien fait. ) The position of que can indicate what is being restricted. https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/how-to-use-restrictive-ne-que-with-compound-tenses-to-express-only-negative-expression