Limiting modifiers such as “only” and “always” enforce restrictions on the subject, noun or pronoun they immediately precede. The following is a list of other words considered to be limiting modifiers:
- Not barely
- At first
If a limiting modifier does not precede the subject or noun, the meaning of an entire sentence is changed. Notice the difference in the following sentences:
Only Jessica wants pizza.
This sentence implies that Jessica is the only person in a group who wants pizza.
Jessica only wants pizza.
On the other hand, this sentence indicates Jessica wants pizza and nothing else.
The best way to ensure a limited modifier is effectively used in a sentence is to consider the meaning that is to be conveyed and ensure the subject or noun associated with that meaning is placed immediately after the limited modifier.