The adverb "only"  may wander more than any other.

Only I painted my auto.

I only painted my auto.

I painted only my auto.

I painted my only auto.

I've seen sentences that have twelve words between an "only" and the word or term it modifies.

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"Only I painted my previously yellow, big, beautiful, sexy, old, reliable, attention grabbing station wagon."

Never heard of wandering words before.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

Bertold, very clever word play.

Or is it semantics play? Both?

I think the interest is mostly semantic, the false parallel of the "likes." Webster's has a long "usage note" with the entry for "like." It's a complex word.

A tangent: "only" also preserves the original pronunciation of "one". We got the incongruity we take for granted today as a 14th-century regional pronunciation from southwest and west England became general by the 18th century.


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