but / only used with neg. predicates & highlights expressed word compared to だけ, which is used with positive nuance... check out comparison below
Maybe its similar to the difference between "just" and "only".
３人だけでも十分 Just 3 people is fine
３人しかないので、大変だった Only 3 people, so it was tough..
If you exchange, the nuance is different ３人[しかない]でも十分 Even if with only 3 people, its enough
the nuance is that 3 people is not really enough, but if we try we can do it...
Part of the clue is that after shika you use a negative: shika[nai] and dake you use a positive
しか in comparison to だけ has a bit of an implication that the amount that /is/ present is small in comparison with what might be expected.
In the しか 'Mr. Tanaka' example the implication is that more might have been expected to come. There is not such an implication in the だけ version.
(Or such is my understanding ;-)
Yes, thanks Littlefish. The negative is definitely confusing without further explanation to me as well. So, I now read the 'Mr. Tanaka' example more literally as "Nobody, except Mr. Tanaka, came". Otherwise the negative isn't logical. So I think of it as meaning 'except' and wait for the negative to be 'nothing' or 'noone'.
Spurry is right, so corrected example #1048.
often used as 「しかない」- nothing but
Or you can use だけしか to emphasize that there were no-shows.
I always got confused when textbooks said that しか...ない means "only," but ない is negative. This kind of threw me off. I've never seen it defined as "nothing but" before. Thank you :)
I think さえ resembles the English "save" quite a lot. So #1048 could also be "Save Mr. Tanaka, no-one came"
Uh, I wonder what I was thinking. Of course I meant しか, not さえ.
If you wanna use "save" in #1048,it would have to be "save for."
I know for this grammar that you often omit the particle. ラーメンをしか食べていない sounds strange to me. ラーメンしか食べていない sounds more natural. Today, I wanted to say "Recently, I am only meeting XX". In this case you would say XXさん と/に しか会っていない. right? I also hear 何々の前にしか会ってない。 Can anyone clarify the rules of particle omission?
In the notes,３人しかないので should be ３人しかいないので When you count persons, you use いる/いない and when you refer to inanimate things, you use ある/ない, as the general rule.Elementary, my dear Watson.
I learned this one as "no more than", which always helped me think of it as a negative-sounding idea, and so I never had trouble remembering to use a negative verb with it. Many of the examples use shika + nai, but you should realize that it is the negative form of ANY verb (subject to other grammar rules, of course.)
What's the difference between だけ and ただ? Is it just that ただ comes before a noun, and だけ after?