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Already, still and yet

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Already, still and yet

INDEX OF CONTENTS

  • Already
  • The adverb Still
  • Yet
  • Also, ‘yet’ and ‘still’ are usually used together

Three frequently confused adverbs of time in English are “still”, “yet” and “already”. In this post we explain what they mean and how they are used.

Already

It is used in affirmative sentences and in interrogative sentences, although in the latter it denotes surprise. Already is usually put in front of the lexical verb (verb that carries the meaning) “Already” is used when talking about an action that happened earlier than expected.

This adverb is used when talking about the past or the present . It can also be used to talk about the future if the future perfect verb mode is used.

  • Ask Katie to send the article to her editor. She has already sent it. (Dile a Katie que envíe el artículo a su editor. Ya lo ha enviado).
  • I already know what I’m going to buy you for your birthday. (Ya sé qué te voy a comprar para tu cumpleaños).
  • They’ve already seen Spiderman and really don’t want to see it again. (Ellos ya han visto Spiderman y la verdad es que no quieren verla otra vez).
  • I will have already cleaned my room by the time you get home. (Cuando llegaste a casa ya había limpiado mi cuarto).

Notice the position of “already” in the following sentences :

  1. Is Mary already here? She must have driven very fast to get here before me. / (¿Ya está Mary aquí? Tiene que haber manejado muy rápido para llegar aquí antes que yo).
  2. How does he already have the answers to tomorrow’s test?. / (¿Cómo es posible que él ya tenga las respuestas del test de mañana?)
  3. Have they already obtained their visas?”. / (¿Ya han conseguido sus visados?)

In sentences in the present, “already” is placed between the subject performing the action and the verb.

  • I have already finished (ya he acabado)
  • I already knew that (ya sabía eso)
  • Have you already finished? (¿Ya has acabado?)

The adverb “Still”

“Still” is used to describe an action that has not ended or a situation that continues to the present. It means “still” and is often used in affirmative sentences. Put still before the verb.

  • “My grandfather is sixty-nine, and he still works every day at the shop he owns”. / Mi abuelo tiene sesenta y nueve años y todavía trabaja todos los días en su tienda.
  • Do you still live with your parents?”. / ¿Todavía vives con tus papás?
  • “It’s 6pm, and I can’t leave the office because I still have work to do”. / Son las 6 p.m. y no puedo irme de la oficina porque todavía tengo trabajo que hacer.
  • He still works in a bank. / (él todavía trabaja en un banco)

But after the verb to be

  • I am still waiting for a reply to my letter (todavía estoy esperando una respuesta a mi carta)

With the verb have and have got the position of still changes.

  •  Tengo tu dirección todavía → I still have your address / I have still got your address.

It can also be used in negative sentences when we want to emphasize that a negative statement is still true. Indicates impatience.

  • I still have not found that book (todavía no he encontrado ese libro)

When we use “still” in interrogative sentences (questions) we do it to denote surprise.

  • Is it still raining? (¿está lloviendo todavía ?)
  • Are they still friends? (¿son amigos todavía?)
  • Do you still live in the UK? (¿vives en el Reino Unido todavía ?)

Yet

(= already or still / yet)

Regardless of the type of phrase, yet is always placed at the end of the sentence. Its meaning varies depending on whether it is used in negative or interrogative sentences. The adverb “yet” is used to clarify a planned action. It can be used for actions in the past, but it has to be used together with a tense in the past.

We insist that it is very important to bear in mind that normally the word ” yet” is placed at the end of the sentence.

  • Are we there yet?. / (¿Ya hemos llegado?)
  • Is the report ready yet?. / (¿Ya está preparado el informe?)
  • Hasn’t dad told you yet? We’re moving to Alaska!. / (¿Todavía no te lo ha dicho tu papá? ¡Nos mudamos a Alaska!)

In negative sentences it means “still.” Unlike still (negative), yet does not indicate impatience .

  • I haven’t finished yet / (todavía no he terminado)

Let’s compare:

  • I haven’t finished reading the book yet / (No he terminado de leer el libro todavía)
  • I still haven’t finished reading the book / (No he terminado de leer el libro todavía) → impatience

In interrogative sentences it means “already “.

  • Have you finished yet? (¿Has terminado ya?)

Let’s compare:

  • Have you finished yet? (¿Has terminado ya?)
  • Have you already finished? (¿Ya has terminado?) → Surprise

Also, “yet” and “still” are usually used together.

Indeed yet and still can be used together to explain why a particular action continues to the present:

  • I am still studying at the university because I haven’t graduated yet. / (Todavía estoy estudiando en la universidad porque todavía no me he graduado).
  • We still don’t know who our new boss will be. The owners haven’t told us yet. / (Todavía no sabemos quién será nuestro nuevo jefe. Los dueños no nos lo han dicho todavía).
  • I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to quit my job to go travel. I’m still thinking about it. / (Todavía no he decidido si voy a dejar mi trabajo para viajar. Todavía lo estoy pensando).

We wish we had resolved, if not all, some of the doubts related to already, still and yet. And finally, if you do this review on the occasion of taking an official exam, here we leave you the closest calls. good luck!!

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