50 Ways To Use Just In English

We use the adverb “just” a lot in English, especially in spoken English. We can use it to mean different things (like “only”, “exactly” and “absolutely”) and we also use it in time expressions and to be polite.

Get the most common meanings of “just”, with more than 50 everyday expressions using “just”.

“Just” In Time Expressions

We can use “just” to mean “recently”. In British English you use it with the present perfect tense:
“I’ve just been shopping.”
“We’ve just left. We’ll see you in an hour.”

Don’t confuse it with “already” which means that something happened earlier than you thought:
“They’ve already left – you missed them!”

We can also use “just” to mean “immediately”. In this situation, use it with the present continuous tense:
“I’m just leaving. I’ll see you in 5 minutes.”

Just now = very recently
“When did you hear from them?”
“Just now, actually.”

Just then = at that very moment (in the past)
“He answered the phone. Just then, someone knocked on the door.”

Just as = at the same time as something else (in the past)
“Just as he was going, the phone rang.”

Just when = just as
“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…” (an advert for Jaws 2)

Just about = when you nearly didn’t have enough time for something
“We just about made our flight.”

“Just” To Mean “Only”

There are many examples when we use “just” to mean “only”:

“I’m just looking.” = In a shop when the sales assistant asks you if you need help.

“I’m just kidding.” = When you want to say you aren’t serious about something.”

Just saying...” = When you want to point out something which is true, but it might also upset someone because it’s also a criticism.
“That’s not the best example to set your children. Just saying…”

“How many sugars in your tea?”
“Oh, just one, please.”

“There’s just one more thing we need to discuss…”

Just a minute = when you want to speak to someone for only a short period of time
“Bear with me just a minute while I find the details.”

(We can also say this when we finally realise something.
“Just a minute! You’re the guy who lent me your phone, aren’t you!”)

Just a question of time = something will definitely happen
“It’s just a question of time before an accident happens on this road.”

Just this once = only one time (that someone can do something)
“Can I borrow your car today? Just this once, I promise!”

Just because = for the one (simple) reason
“Just because all your friends can stay out until midnight doesn’t mean you can too!”

“Just” To Mean “Exactly”

“Just” can also mean “exactly”. For example:

“You’re just like your mother!”

“It’s just the same problem as last week.”

“We have just enough time to get something to eat before the train leaves.”

“You’re just in time to see Debbie do her impersonation of the boss!”

“You’re just the person I wanted to see! Have you got a couple of minutes to help me?”

“Thank you so much for talking to me yesterday. It’s just what I needed!”

Just the job / Just the ticket = the precise thing that you needed
“I’ve been looking for a small-space storage solution, and this is just the job!”

Just what the doctor ordered = exactly what you needed to feel better
“We had a great break in the Lake District. It was just what the doctor ordered!”

Just so = when something is done precisely
“She likes the beds to be made just so.”

(See also the other meaning of “Just so” in the section below.)

That’s just it = that’s exactly the case (when you agree with what someone says)
“That’s just it! You can’t keep cutting salaries and then expect people to stay in the company!”

“Just” To Mean “Absolutely” / “Simply”

You can add emphasis when you use “just” with an adjective. Here are a couple of examples:

“It’s just not fair.”

“Her children are just adorable!”

Just so” = “Rightly so / Absolutely correct.”
“They bring up their children to be polite to teachers.”
“Just so!”

Just one of those days = something you say when everything seems to go wrong
“First the boiler broke down, then my car wouldn’t start… It’s just one of those days.”

Just the way it is = when there’s nothing we can do about a situation
“There’s no point complaining about their hiring process. That’s just the way it is.”

(I) just can’t help it = when you / someone can’t stop yourself from doing something (even if you know you shouldn’t)
“I can’t keep quiet when he says these outrageous things. I just can’t help it!”

Just for fun = when you do something simply to have fun
“Lets go for a bike ride along the coast, just for fun.”

“Just” In Polite Expressions

We can also use “just” when we want to sound less definite and polite. For example:

I was just wondering if you had some time this week to talk to me about something…”

I just wanted to let you know that…” = when you want to give information
“I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be leaving the company at the end of the month.”

I’m just writing to tell you…” = when you give information in an email
“I’m just writing to tell you that I’ve heard back from the hospital.”

Just so you know = when you want to inform someone about something
“Just so you know, I’m out of the office next week.”

Let me just say = when you want to add something to a discussion
“Let me just say that despite the bad publicity, sales of our new product did well.”

More Expressions With “Just”

We have lots of fixed expressions with “just”. Here are the most common ones.

Just as well! = fortunately
“It was just as well that you didn’t tell him about the surprise party!”

Just around the corner = very close (either in time or space)
“I live just around the corner from them.”
“Christmas is just around the corner!”

Just good friends = when you want to emphasise that you aren’t in a romantic relationship with someone
“John and I are just good friends. That’s all!”

Just in case = to prepare against something happening
“Take your passport with you to the bank – just in case they ask for ID.”

Just goes to show = what you’ve just said proves something
“It just goes to show that going to a great university doesn’t always mean you’ll get a great job.”

Is it just me, or… = when you want to find out if other people agree with your complaint (or if you’re the only one to think or feel like this!)
“Is it just me, or is this restaurant really loud?”

Just my luck! = something you say when something unlucky happens
“We went all the way there to try out the restaurant – and it was closed! Just my luck!”

Just for the record = when you want someone to know something (and to know that you said it)
“Just for the record, I have never suggested that he’s a bad employee!”

Just think / Just imagine = when you invite someone to imagine a future situation (often used in marketing)
“Just think! We could be in Australia right now!”

As it just so happens… = something that happens by chance
“As it just so happens, I went to school with her father!”

Just another day = a typical day in your work
“Some people save lives – but for them, it’s just another day.”

Just for starters = when something is first in the list (of other things)
“To get a job here you have to fill out an online form – and that’s just for starters!”

Just say the word! = when you can do something that someone else wants as soon as they tell you
“We can leave the party any time you want. Just say the word!”

Don’t just …! = when you want to get someone to do something
“Don’t just sit there while he insults you. Do something!”

Don’t you just love it when … = when you ask someone if they also feel the same anger or disappointment as you
“Don’t you just love it when your boss calls you in for a meeting ten minutes before you’re due to leave the office on a Friday afternoon?”

Famous Song Titles With “Just”

And finally… there are even some famous song titles with “just” in them. Here are five of them:

“I just called to say I love you” (Stevie Wonder)
“Just like a woman” (Bob Dylan)
“Just the way you are” (Bruno Mars)
“Girls just want to have fun” (Cyndi Lauper)
“Just can’t get enough” (Depeche Mode)

Hi! I’m Clare – the founder of this site. I want to help you become more fluent in English by using the real expressions that native speakers use.

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