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This question already has an answer here:

So I saw this one in one my books and was wondering how it gets translated into John slept five hours yesterday.

ジョンさんはきのう五時間しか寝ませんでした.

Any kind of explanation is appreciated, my book maybe covers it? But I can't seem to find an answer.

marked as duplicate by user3856370, macraf, Chocolate, Blavius, snailboat Jul 30 '18 at 16:04

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    Are you sure it didn't say しか before the verb? – snailboat Jul 29 '18 at 16:28
  • Oh flip, realized my spelling error... Yeah so the sentence would be: ジョンさんはきのう五時間しか寝ませんでした. – oozeman Jul 29 '18 at 16:44
  • @oozeman so now you understand what the sentence is saying? Do you want to edit the question or delete it? Still need help? – ericfromabeno Jul 29 '18 at 17:55
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When you use しか it takes the negative form of the verb. It means that a person only does that and nothing else. A more accurate translation of your sentence would be John slept for 5 hours (and did not sleep any longer)

水しか飲みません
I only drink water and nothing else

チョコレートしか食べません
I only eat chocolate and nothing else

しか is also used with だけ

君だけしか守りたくない
I just want to protect you and nobody else

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