English adverbs. Yet – Still – Already

English adverbs. Yet - Still - Already

A few years ago one of my Facebook followers asked how we use the adverb YET. Adverbs that relate to time can be confusing. In my years of teaching language (and learning language!) I’ve seen that the adverbs STILL, and ALREADY can also be a bit confusing. I wrote this post and combined it with my yet post, to help you learn how to use these 3 adverbs correctly.

The adverb YET

Yet means until now.

A: Is Kyle coming to the party?
B: I’m not sure, I haven’t talked to him yet.

I haven’t talked to Kyle [about the party] from before until now.

A: Is Kyle coming to the party? 
B: I'm not sure, I haven't talked to him yet.

Yet is used mostly in negative sentences…

I haven’t talked to him yet.

…and questions.

Is Kyle here yet?

From Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

yet – used in negative sentences and questions to talk about something that has not happened but that you expect to happen

I didn’t receive a letter from him yet.

I didn't receive a letter from him yet.

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/yet_1?q=Yet

More examples

Our new manager started this morning. Have you met him yet?

The new cafe on Front Street is very popular. I haven’t been there yet.

*Yet is often used in sentences with the present perfect grammar. Have + the past particle. (Have met and haven’t been are in the present perfect tense.)

Yet is often used in sentences with the present perfect grammar. Have + the past particle. (Have met and haven't been are in the present perfect tense.)

The adverb STILL

Still is used to describe an action or a situation that continues. The situation hasn’t changed and it hasn’t stopped.

Curtis is a hard worker. It’s after 6:00 and he’s still working.

(He hasn’t stopped working.)

Curtis is a hard worker. It's after 6:00 and he's still working.

Louise slept for 9 hours but she’s still tired.

(Her condition [being tired] hasn’t changed.)

I’m hungry. Is the pizza restaurant still open?

(Does the restaurant continue to be open?)

From Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

still – continuing until a particular point in time and not finishing

I wrote to them last month and I’m still waiting for a reply.

I’m still hungry!

Do you still live at the same address?

There’s still time to change your mind.

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/still_1?q=Still

The adverb ALREADY

already means before now or before a particular time in the past

‘Would you like to stay for dinner?’ ‘No thanks, I’ve already eaten.’

We got there early but Mike had already left.

We got there early but Mike had already left.

From Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Other uses for ALREADY

  • used to express surprise that something has happened sooner or earlier than we expected

“Is it 10 o’clock already?” (I’m surprised by the time. It’s later than I thought.)

“You’re not leaving already, are you?” (I’m surprised that you’re leaving so soon.)

  • used to emphasize that a situation or problem exists

“I’m already late.” (I’m not going to be late, I’m late now. And I’m becoming even later.)

“There are far too many people already. We can’t take any more.” (We have too many people now, it’s not possible to take any more.)

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/already?q=Already

Here is a basic guide for using these 3 adverbs with time.

if something hasn’t happened but you expect it to happen use YET.

if something has started but not finished use STILL.

if something happened before now use ALREADY. + If something happened sooner than your expected use ALREADY.

Here is a basic guide for using these 3 adverbs with time.

Listen to the post audio below on SoundCloud


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