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只要
zhǐ yào
conj. if only, as long as
Discussion of 只要
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These two conjunctions, 只要 and 只有, both indicate conditional relations. What are their differences?

“只要...,就...” indicates a sufficient condition which is not the only condition.
Example 2. 只要你努力,就一定能学好汉语。 [phr] As long as you study hard, you certainly will learn Chinese well.
In Example 2, 你努力 is a sufficient condition which leads to the result 能学好汉语. It is not the only condition though. But this condition is enough for the result to happen.

“只有…,才…” indicates a necessary condition (a.k.a. the only condition).
Example 1. 只有虚心学习,才能进步。 [phr] Only if one studies modestly can they go forward.
In Example 1, 虚心学习 is the only condition for 进步. In other words, 虚心学习 is the necessary condition to the result — 进步.
lisaC
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