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only, simply


just triggers the use of perfective aspect (have + -en) when it marks a recently accomplished prior action.

  • I had just finished eating when the doorbell rang.
  • I've just left work. I should be back home in an hour.

In both the UK & the US the past perfect is used with just to mark a recently accomplished prior past action.

In American English the simple past is frequently used instead of the present perfect.

degree modifier

  • just now = precisely now.
  • just then = à ce moment précis

just can qualify a preposition in many of the same ways "right" can:

  • The boss always naps just after lunch.
  • He usually makes weak coffee, but this cup is just right.
  • She smelled the fire just in time to still be able to put it out.
  • They live just over the hill there.

speech softener

"just" is often used when making a suggestion, when criticizing, when explaining one's intentions/reasoning...

  • I'm just wondering if we should even continue producing these books, we keep losing money on them.
  • just saying (je dis ça, je dis rien)
  • I just wanted to say thank you!
  • I just thought it wasn't a big deal. I didn't realize it was so important.


fair, equitable