What is the meaning/significance of ~のみ? Does it have anything to do with or ?

Some example sentences:

  • しかし、予算の制限のため、差し当たり実験機のみを製造することになった。
    But budget restrictions have allowed them to make only prototypes for the time being.

  • そして、内で行われる茶の湯の作法のみが美しく見え、そこに宇宙空間や禅の思想までもが表現されたもの。
    In that context, the tea ceremony becomes the focus of beauty, while ideas of space and Zen are also communicated.

  • 両商品とも、コンビニのみで販売されている。
    Both products are sold only at convenience stores.


It means "only". You can think of it as the written version of だけ.

のみ can replace だけ except for these cases:

  • i-adjectives: 高い{だけ・*のみ}

  • na-adjectives: 静かな{だけ・*のみ}

  • quantifiers: 一つ{だけ・*のみ}

* denoting unacceptability

Also case particles may appear before/after のみ with virtually no difference in meaning except for で.

  • Xでのみ, Y - Only using X, Y.

  • Xのみで, Y - Using "Only X", Y.

  • d'oh! I was parsing the separate to the . Should've looked it up separately. Thanks!
    – cypher
    Jan 26 '12 at 1:02
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    @oldergod What do you mean by keigo version of だけ? It sounds senseless to me.
    – user458
    Jan 26 '12 at 1:12
  • 2
    「のみ」is not an honorific or keigo... it's just one of 副助詞 in literary style...
    – user1016
    Jan 26 '12 at 1:34
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    @oldergod, what kind of keigo would this be? Sonkeigo, kenjougo or teineigo? I think 'formal' might be more precise than 'written'. Formal language is used in spoken language all the time.
    – dainichi
    Jan 26 '12 at 3:43
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    I used to get coffee at the same shop every day and used to ask for "ミルクだけ。" when asked whether I wanted milk and sugar, the lady behind the counter always used to confirm, "ミルクのみ?". Thinking that I had missed something in understanding the difference, I started to say, "ミルクのみ。" to which she replied, "ミルクだけ?"... Jan 29 '12 at 8:36

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