When To Use Solo Vs Solamente in Spanish

In this Spanish grammar lesson today, we will not only talk about when to use solo vs. only in Spanish, but we will also talk about the differences between “solo”, “solo” and “only” in Spanish. This seems to be a topic that confuses many people learning Spanish. In fact, when I started learning Spanish, this was a topic that often confused me. I asked many of my Spanish speaking friends for help and none of them could help me. I even asked my Spanish instructor, and her explanation only confused me more. Finally, not only do I understand the differences between “solo”, “only” and “only” in Spanish, but I can also explain the topic to other people who are learning to speak Spanish.

For starters, “only” (notice the accent on the first letter “o”) and “only” are “adverbs.”

(adverbs). “Only” and “only” are interchangeable and both mean “only”. For example:

There are only two weeks left until the holidays begin.
(It’s only two weeks until the holidays start.)

I have eight brothers and she only two.
(I have eight siblings and she only has two.)

On the other hand, “solo/a” (note that there is no tilde over the first letter
“or”) is an “adjective” (adjective). “Solo/a'” is NOT interchangeable with “solo” and “only”.

Solo/a means alone or lonely. For example:

I want to be alone so I can study without getting distracted.
I want to be alone so I can study without being distracted.

Note that “solo” (alone, lonely) which is an adjective can be masculine or (feminine):
alone or alone But “only” (or “only”), which is an adverb, only has one form. Look at these examples:

I live alone.
I live alone.

I live only (only) for you.
I only live for you.

I live only for you.
I live only because of you.

Of course, in a normal conversation you will not be able to see the tilde in “only” or see the lack of tilde in “only”. Therefore, you will need to rely on the context of the conversation to determine which one the speaker intends to use. Here is an example using only and only:

I drink alone, only when I’m depressed.”
I drink alone, only when I’m depressed.

I hope this clears up any confusion about when to use “solo”, “only”, and “only” in Spanish.

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