2

Значит, остаётся только одно: смотреть, что произойдёт дальше.

I assume the literally translated "only one thing remains" doesn't quite cut it here. Is it more like "there's only one thing left to do" or "one thing is sure", or possibly "in any case / whatever the case"?

How do you use this expression in general?

  • The 1st and the 2nd variants are OK, the rest are wrong. – Yellow Sky Mar 10 '18 at 13:57
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    Notice, that nouns derived form verbs are neutral (действовать - действие, стоять - стояние). I have a theory that одно, being neutral, refers to such an implied action noun. So it is There is only one [possible] action. – AlexVB Mar 10 '18 at 16:55
  • @AlexVB and although formally infinitives don't have gender property, they're also understood as being neutral There is only one [possible] thing to do – Баян Купи-ка Mar 11 '18 at 13:39
5

We use it when we want to express despair - there is only one way of handling a situation. In your particular example the way itself (смотреть, что произойдёт дальше) essentially means do nothing, or there is nothing you can do.

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  • Hi. So do you always use this expression (dejectedly) in a negative context: "You/We have no other choice but to (helplessly) watch something happening"? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Mar 10 '18 at 15:29
  • Yes. Except for the fact there are situations when it is indeed better to relax and "helplessly watch something happening". – dimanne Mar 10 '18 at 15:33
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    @Alone-zee not necessarily dejectedly, just in any case you or anybody else can't influence the outcome despite being an active doer/participant, like "I/he did my/his best, let's see how it plays out" – Баян Купи-ка Mar 10 '18 at 15:44
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    @БаянКупи-ка So is it more like: "All you/we can do now is watch ..."? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Mar 10 '18 at 15:47
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    @Alone-zee with regard to the gist of your particular sentence yes, however the only thing left to do may not always be watching, it could be any last resort after failed attempts to achieve something by other means, excuse me this violent example, but if a person unsuccessfully tried to receive money owed to him by someone else he may say Остаётся только одно, пойти и разбить ему голову (to make them pay) – Баян Купи-ка Mar 11 '18 at 9:08

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