Although only and alone have similar meanings, we cannot always use them interchangeably when translating into English.

When we use alone to mean without including anything else, it comes right after the noun it modifies.

Incorrect:   Minnesota only exports more than $2 billion in soybeans annually, with China as the state’s top export market.

Correct:       Minnesota alone exports more than $2 billion in soybeans annually, with China as the state’s top export market.

Incorrect:   The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, reported that $12.3 billion worth of soybeans were exported to China in 2017 only.

Correct:      The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, reported that $12.3 billion worth of soybeans were exported to China in 2017 alone.

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