The word "just" can be an adverb or an adjective.

As an adverb, it means recent or not very long ago:

  • The movie just started.
  • The plane just left.
  • She just turned 18.
  • I just got here a few minutes ago.

just married

They just got married.

You can also use "just" as an adverb to mean that something is not difficult or that a request is reasonable.

  • Just turn the handle to open the door.
  • You just need to push that button for it to work.
  • He just needs to do his homework and he’ll get good grades.
  • If you just try, you’ll be successful.
  • I just want you to help me this one time.

Another use for "just" is to describe a small amount:

  • There’s just a little snow left on the ground.
  • Just put a little cream in my coffee, please.
  • He can’t speak yet. He’s just a baby.

If you use "just" as an adjective, the meaning and the use of the word is very different from its use as an adverb. In this case, "just" means that something is morally correct or fair.

  • The punishment they received for stealing a car was just.
  • The outcome of the trial wasn’t just. The jurors were biased against the defendant.
  • The judicial system in the United States is based on fair and just laws.

The noun form of this word is "justice."

  • The people who were injured by the product sought justice in a court of law.
  • The protestors demanded social justice on behalf of the people who lost their homes.
  • There are nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices who interpret the laws of the land. (A "justice" is a person who serves on a U.S. or state supreme court–the highest court of the land.)

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This page was first published on January 20, 2013. It was updated on September 18, 2016.