Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: just.

just. Like “only,” “just” must be carefully placed — e.g.: “Texas’ Danny Peoples . . . had a two-run double and just hit foul a ball that could have been a two-run, game-tying homer.” Kirk Bohls, “Dallas Baptist Assaults Texas Pitching 10-5,” Austin Am.-Statesman, 26 Apr. 1994, at E1, E6. “Just” probably modifies “foul” — it might arguably modify “could” — but it certainly doesn’t modify the word that it precedes, “hit,” which might indicate that he had hit the foul immediately before. Perhaps the writer was so eager to indicate how the ball was barely foul that he put the “just” in too early. Another example: “‘America needs a decade of renewal and reform,’ he [Richard D. Lamm, a presidential candidate] said. ‘It just doesn’t [read “doesn’t just”] need a new President — it needs a whole decade of reform and renewal.'” Ernest Tollerson, “Lamm, Ex-Governor of Colorado, Seeks Reform Party’s Nomination,” N.Y. Times, 10 July 1996, at A1, A12. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “The writing of literate Americans whose primary business is not writing but something else is pretty bad. It is muddy, backward, convoluted and self-strangled; it is only too obviously the product of a task approached unwillingly and accomplished without satisfaction or zeal. Except for the professionals among us, we Americans are hell on the English language.” Donald J. Lloyd, “Our National Mania for Correctness,” in A Linguistics Reader 57, 57-58 (Graham Wilson ed., 1967). ====================
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