The Wikipedia article on German modal particles has the following example with translation:
Ich verleihe kein Geld, das zerstört ja nur Freundschaften. -- "I never lend money. Everyone knows that only destroys friendships."
The English is ambiguous, but that's ok because it would be awkward to make the meaning precise and the intent is obvious. Specifically, there are three interpretations:
a) The only thing that lending money might destroy is a friendship.
b) The only thing that lending money might do to a friendship is destroy it.
c) (The intended meaning.) The only thing that lending money might do at all is to destroy a friendship.
My problem is that since nur comes before Freundschaften, and going by the rule that modifiers come before the thing they modify in German, it sounds to me like only the (a) interpretation is possible with the German version. With that in mind, it seems to be that a better translation would be to put the nur at the end:
Ich verleihe kein Geld, das zerstört ja Freundschaften nur.
This just seems wrong to me somehow, but if so then I don't know why. Another possibility is to move the nur to the front:
Ich verleihe kein Geld, nur zerstört ja das Freundschaften.
But this seems awkward in general and may be placing undue emphasis on nur. Maybe a conjunction would help:
Ich verleihe kein Geld, weil es Freundschaften nur zerstört.
Now the only possible meaning is (b), though. Also I don't know where to put ja now and that's the whole point of the example.
So the main question is, in a sentence where nur can be applied to the verb, a noun, or both at once, where you position it to make the meaning clear, or at least not incorrect?
This question seems similar, but it that case it was more about where to put the nur with a conditional, and in this case there is no conditional.