Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 7: 1/13

Only, Just

Verb + だけ
[い]Adjective + だけ
[な]Adjective + + だけ
Noun + だけ
Part of Speech Particle
Word Type Adverbial Particle
Register Standard
品詞 助詞
単語の種類 副助詞
使用域 一般
だけ is used in Japanese in a similar way to ‘only’ or ‘just’ in English. The basic meaning of this word is that ‘while there are/were several possibilities, only (A) is true/was chosen’. だけ is used by attaching it to the base (dictionary) form of any word, except for な-Adjectives, which require when being used adjectivally.
  • 今夜(こんや)食(た)べだけ、何(なに)も飲(の)まない
    Tonight I'm only going to eat, I won’t drink anything.
  • 私(わたし)ブロッコリーだけきらい
    I only dislike broccoli.
  • あの人(ひと)有名(ゆうめい)だけ
    That person is just famous. (Fame is all they have)
  • このスープ辛(から)いだけ
    This soup is just spicy.
Due to な-Adjectives being able to be used as either a noun or an adjective, the meaning of a sentence will be different depending on whether だけ is used with the noun form, or the adjective form.
  • 私(わたし)彼女(かのじょ)綺麗(きれい)だけです
    My girlfriend is just beautiful. (There are no other distinguishing features)
  • 富士山綺麗(きれい)だけじゃない
    As for Mt. Fuji, beauty is not all there is. (There are other distinguishing features)
Basically this difference just highlights whether something is being discussed in a measurable way (an adjective), or an immeasurable way (a noun).
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Only one person.
Only that.
I only like soccer.
[Soccer is the only thing I like]
みんなの日本語 I
Page 74 [CH 11]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 93
Marugoto Elementary 2 (A2) Rikai
Page 91
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 244