Both に限って and だけ seem to be used with the meaning of "only".

For instance, both phrases seem to have the same meaning:

  • このスーパーは土曜日だけ配達する。

  • このスーパーは土曜日に限って配達する。

Is there any difference between them and their usage?

  • 2
    Is there a difference between "only" and "limited to" in English?
    – virmaior
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 3:28

1 Answer 1


Both に限って and だけ seem to be used with the meaning of "only".

Yes, they do. But I'd avoid to use に限って in this way (especially when I speak) because it's prone to be misunderstood as its second idiomatic senses (loaded a lot), that are:

With negative sentence: "the last something (to V)", often advocative.

彼に限ってそんなことするわけない! He is the last man to do such a thing!

With positive sentence: "on the particular time", "time of all times", in mortifying situations.

今日に限って目覚ましが鳴らなかった。 My alarm clock failed me today of all days.

An alternative is に限り, which is almost interchangeable with だけ, only sounds quite a bit formal or businesslike.

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