I translate these words as either "only, just, simply".

I'd like to know how I could differentiate these 4 ways (i.e., when I use that one, and when I use the other).


  • たったひとつの恋 (Dorama)
  • ただの子供だ
  • ただ待つだけだ
  • よし, この 10 万円は君にあげよう. ただし, これ以上はお断わりだよ.
    ... so on
  • 1
    Actually, ただし usually means ‘but’, ‘however’, etc. I'd add 〜しか〜ない to the list of words you're asking about though. – Zhen Lin Aug 18 '11 at 13:59
  • btw why is ただ待つだけだ grammatical? shouldn't it be ただ(noun/gerund)だけだ ? – Pacerier Aug 22 '11 at 22:22
  • hmm. i thought of "It's just wait!" (there's no other thing unless wating) ^^ あってるかどうかわからないけど. – daniel tomio Aug 23 '11 at 1:54
  • I cannot imagine the context where ただ蛇だ is used. What is the context? – Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 23 '11 at 2:38
  • 2
    @daniel tomio - "It's just wait!" is ungrammatical. It's more along the lines of "We have only to wait.", "I just wait.", etc. You could say "It is but to wait.", but it sounds a little stilted in everyday speech. – rdb Aug 23 '11 at 2:44

As far as I know, たった and ただ have exactly the same meaning, and are just variants, something like ばかり and ばっかり。 As to the third example sentence, I'd venture to say that the ただ there is the same ただ at the head of the snake. (笑)

By the way, as Mr. Ito points out in comments above, if you meant to say, "It's just an ordinary snake" or the like, it needs to be ただの蛇だ。 If you meant "It's only a snake", as in a case where you were expecting a Yeti, it would be 蛇だけだ。

  • btw is it true that ただ蛇だ means "It's only a snake" so basically it is the same as 蛇だけだ ? If so what is the difference in nuance between ただ蛇だ and 蛇だけだ ? – Pacerier Aug 23 '11 at 7:25
  • 1
    No. ただのX means "a mere X", "an ordinary X", etc. A "nothing special about it" X. 蛇だけだ is like this. Imagine you're in the Canadian wilderness, trying to track Bigfoot. You hear a rustling of leaves and turn toward the sound, hoping against hope that it's the sound of Bigfoot approaching. Instead, you see a huge viper noisily crawling toward you. You say: "Oh. It's just a snake." That is 蛇だけだ. – rdb Aug 23 '11 at 8:23
  • actually i was comparing it with ただ蛇だ, or do you mean to say that ただ蛇だ is the same as ただの蛇だ ? – Pacerier Aug 23 '11 at 8:59
  • ただ蛇だ, as has been pointed out earlier, doesn't make much sense. – rdb Aug 23 '11 at 9:17
  • ok thx for all the help =D – Pacerier Aug 23 '11 at 9:39

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