One tiny little word can make such a difference to the meaning, the deeper meaning, of a sentence. Take a look at these almost silent, yet incredibly powerful little guys and have a think about how using them could affect your sentences, affect your writing, heck, let’s get a little carried away: how they could affect your life.

‘All’ at the beginning of a sentence emphasises ‘the only thing’

I only need a five-minute nap = All I need is a five-minute nap.

            I just want a holiday = All I want is a holiday.

Look at all that desparation heaped onto the sentence starting with all.  Doesn’t it just make you want to cry?!


Similarly ‘only’ at the beginning of a sentence emphasises ‘being the only one’

Only Elizabeth knew how bad it could get.

            Only the sparrows sang louder.

How alone, how tragic. Poor Elizabeth, stuck in a vacuum of nothingness. And, wow, how loud, how arrogant are those chest-out sparrows?

Little’ at the beginning of a sentence has a negative or restrictive meaning

Little do they know how important this lesson will be for them.

            Little do children appreciate how much work parents do for them.

It’s us against them, right? Conspiratorial. Secretive. All that, from such a small word. Good things come in small packages!

Proofreader, copy-writer and copy-editor

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