Похоже, я встречаю одних лишь жадных женщин.

I assume that the adverb "лишь", along with the adjective "одних", conveys the idea of "(meet) only/just". I wonder why "лишь" needs to be interposed between the two adjectives "одних" and "жадных" like this instead of:

Похоже, я встречаю лишь одних жадных женщин.

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The numeral одни(х) is used here in the meaning только, so the word combination is equivalent in sense to "только лишь" where the two words are close synonyms and express almost the same meaning. They can follow in either order without changing sense, but the version "одних лишь" in that particular sentence sounds slightly more phonetically balanced than "лишь одних" would. If another numeral in place of одни(х) were used here for 'counting' those women (встретил "лишь двух" жадных женщин, а не больше), another word order ("двух лишь") wouldn't work well. So "одних лишь" or "лишь одних" has here the sense similar to that of the combination 'only just': https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/only-just

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    There's no reason why you won't say лишь только. – alamar Dec 5 at 9:06

If we read the phrase aloud, it sounds rhytmical. So, it can be either a line of a poem/song, or a phrase from the direct speech of a character.

And if you put лишь first, the rhythm breaks.

Grammatically it can be both лишь одних and одних лишь.

I wonder why "лишь" needs to be interposed

Depends on what you mean by needs -- it certainly doesn't have to. I don't see much difference between одних лишь и лишь одних, at least in the example that you are giving.

Why would a person opt for the second phrase in your example, and not the first one? Because they wouldn't want to говорить стихами, for example -- your first phrase reads like a verse.

I would say that in this case одних works much more like an article would and not as an adjective at all. You can't possibly say Похоже, я встречаю жадных одних женщин. I guess there's a clever world for role of одних in this sentence.

When you say that you would actually wonder why the second form is allowed, and not the first one. Of course you will say

the only greedy woman

and not

only the greedy woman

Note that одних as an article has an opposite effect of the in English. So instead of meeting the only greedy woman you meet all women who are greedy.

P. S. And the second form will be actually discouraged in written Russian.

  • It is NOT an article at all. The correct translation into English is "I seem to meet only greedy women". No 'the', not in the least. Besides, your "the only greedy woman" is "единственная жадная женщина", which means there are several women, but only one of them is greedy. – Elena Dec 5 at 16:57
  • @Elena unfortunately you did not read my answer. Definite article is not the only one article possible. – alamar Dec 5 at 17:05
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    I had read it three times before I replied. It didn't get better, still. I'm sorry. – Elena Dec 5 at 17:37

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