someone can only do something - definition and synonyms

  1. 1
    used for showing that only one action is possible in a particular situation, even if it is really not the best or most suitable one

    I can only express absolute disgust that any public official would act in such a dishonest way.

    As a waiter earning £150 a week, he can only dream about buying a home of his own.

  2. 2
    used for saying that you can only think of one explanation for something

    I can only assume that an error was made when the report was being typed.

    We can only suppose that there has been political pressure on him to make this decision.

See also main entry: only