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Here's one I remember from a while back.

There is one word that will fit into any of the blanks in the following sentence:

__ I __ punched __ him __ in the __ eye __ yesterday __.

The meaning of the sentence will be different depending on where you place the word. What is this word?

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The word is

Only

But can be better explained here:

https://www.humankinetics.com/flguideonweb/NitToPick16MisplacedOnly.htm

More explanation (provided, in part, by Will)

  1. Only I punched him in the eye yesterday: I was the only person who punched him Or Only, I punched him in the eye, yesterday.

  2. I only punched him in the eye yesterday: I didn't poke him in the eye OR I didn't poke him in the eye yesterday.

  3. I punched only him in the eye yesterday: I didn't punch anyone else in the eye

  4. I punched him only in the eye yesterday: I didn't punch him in the neck

  5. I punched him in the only eye yesterday: He has only one eye

  6. I punched him in the eye only yesterday: I punched him yesterday, which was recently OR I punched him in the eye, only, yesterday.

  7. I punched him in the eye yesterday only: I punched him in the eye, but I only did it yesterday. No other day.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't see how the meaning of 'I only punched him in the eye yesterday' is different from 'I punched him in the eye yesterday only'. They both indicate that yesterday was the only time it happened. Nevertheless, it's probably the right answer $\endgroup$ – astralfenix Apr 13 '16 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ The first means that you did nothing but punch him. You didn't kick him, or spit on him. The second means you punched him, but you only did it, yesterday. $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha Apr 13 '16 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ Good on you for not jamming your thumbs in those sockets. If there's any distinction I take issue with it'd be "only yesterday" vs. "yesterday only." $\endgroup$ – Will Apr 13 '16 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ "Only yesterday" implies that it was only yesterday, not that long ago. "Yesterday only" means that it occurred yesterday, and at no other time. $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Apr 13 '16 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, and technically, there's one more place you could put the word, between "in" and "the", but it would have the same meaning as having it before "in", so I didn't put a blank there. $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Apr 13 '16 at 21:37

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