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I was listening to the song Tous les mêmes by Stromae the other day, and in the second verse I noticed he sings the following;

Moi je l'disais pour t'faire réagir, seulement
Toi, t'y pensais

Which as I understand means "me, I was only saying it to get a reaction from you. You, you were thinking about it (as in "and you were actually thinking about it"). But why is seulement placed in the end of the sentence here? Or is it just one way of saying it?

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According to Larousse, seulement's 4th meaning is the French equivalent of however.

Here are examples:

Je t'ai attendu à la gare, seulement tu n'es pas venu…

Moi, je le disais pour te faire réagir, seulement tu y pensais…

Seulement voilà means the same thing but is more insisting.


I'll try to explain what Stromae meant here:

It's all about what broken couples might have said. Especially the girls who would say something like "It's over" only to get more attention from the guys. HOWEVER, the guys can sometimes take it literally.

  • "Quoi toi aussi tu veux en finir maintenant ? C'est le monde à l'envers" (Girl speaking to Guy, telling him that she wants to break up and he agrees or at least doesn't disagree).
  • "Moi je le disais juste pour te faire réagir. Seulement, toi t'y pensais" (But she didn't really mean it but he still did take it as it is)
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    Thank you very much for this. This word was kinda confusing me for a while and it's nice get a good explanation from a real person. – noam b Dec 3 '15 at 17:10
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I think it's for the rhyme with "maintenant" two verse above.

Also putting "seulement" at the end is emphasing it.

Moreover there is a comma before "seulement", so maybe it can be understood as the beginning of the next line: "Seulement, toi, t'y pensais".

Which can mean: Alone, you were considering it (a breakup).

I also think that here "seulement" is looking like "cependant", which would mean: I was just saying but you were really considering it.

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    Seulement here doesn't mean alone at all. Its only meaning, here, is toutefois = however – Kalzem Dec 3 '15 at 16:06
  • @BabyAzerty Really, it can mean however? I do recall seeing it this way somewhere but only in conjunction with "voilà" - "seulement voilà" – noam b Dec 3 '15 at 16:42
  • @noamb See my reply – Kalzem Dec 3 '15 at 17:02
  • @noamb Seulement voilà sounds horrible to me, a French Canadian. I don't know for other countries, but It really sounds weird to me. – Sifu Dec 3 '15 at 18:31
  • Yes, it means however, sorry for the error. – Xavier Nicollet Dec 4 '15 at 22:37

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