The tricky points
Again (and Already
Still and yet, again
and even always,
which often cause trouble for students of English. So let's try and
distinguish clearly between them.
The problem arises
languages do not have an equivalent choice of words, and one word
may cover different meanings; French encore,
for example, can be either "still" or "yet", and encore
can also mean "again", and sometimes
"always" or "already" in English. Dictionaries don't always
distinguish between the different uses.
STILL (no longer and always)
Still implies a continuing
action, and is generally used in affirmative
computer is still analysing the data.
The action is continuous, and the verb tense with still in this sense
is usually a progressive form, except with be, have and verbs
primary perception, as in
were still talking at midnight.
still have that picture you gave me.
or when referring to habitual action:
can still see him.
still shops at Sainsbury's.
longer is the equivalent of still
in negative contexts. STILL
often found in negative sentences, but is usually
replaced by no
not ... any more) . Note: "no
more" should not be used.
The negative versions of examples A1 - A3 could be:
computer is not analysing the data any more
IMPORTANT: When still
is used with not,
the position of still
before or after the "not" is vital for
determining the meaning of the sentence!! If still
verb, this does not mean that an action has stopped, but that it has
begun. For example:
were no longer talking at midnight.
were no more talking
I no longer have that picture you gave me.
not have the picture means that
I am waiting to receive it, I have not yet received it.
B 32 I
still have the picture means the same as
no longer have the picture but I had it earlier.
avoid mistakes, do not
in negative contexts! There are always
alternative expressions !
These words are NOT
synonymous in English.
implies that an action is unfinished or not permanent, and
will be terminated at some
- Always implies that an action is permanent and
is not likely to be terminated or cease.
still waiting for the bus.
B 42 He
always goes home by bus.
► 2. YET
Yet normally accompanied by NOT,
It is most commonly found in negative
statements - but it is not a simple negative equivalent of
YET does not
imply discontinued action, i.e. action that has finished.
computer has not yet analysed the data.
can't yet see him (he hasn't appeared).
is very rare
statements. However it can be used in affirmative questions:
Have you yet
seen the new James Bond movie ?
When yet is used in
statements, it actually implies
I've yet to
see the new James Bond movie.
I have not yet
seen the movie, but I will soon see it maybe.
avoid mistakes, do not
in affirmative statements.
► 2.1 CONFUSION
Confusion is easiest in QUESTIONS:
the difference between continuing
action (still) and incipient
(beginning) action (yet)
is fundamental. When a person asks a question,
they may not know if an
action is commenced, or terminated; the word "yet" leaves this
option open, as in example D5.
D1 He's used the new machine for a
year now; can he still
remember how to use the old one?
only lived here for a week: has he yet
found out where the best
Can you see anything yet
? or Can
see anything ?
meaning "Have you
started to see something?")
(Question meaning: "It was visible; but is it
had any rain ?
(Open question implying "Maybe
you have, maybe you have
► 3 ALREADY
action (D1 or D2) or an acquired state
(D3 or D4). In British English, already is normally used with
a present perfect; American speakers often use it with a preterite.
already been to London three times.
already went to Chicago twice this year.
D3 She already has three children
D4 The box was already broken when I found it.
went to Paris last week, and I went there again this week.
haven't broken your CD-player again, have you?
|| negative context
longer, (not still)
► TEST YOURSELF - a short multiple
choice test on still, yet, already.
OTHER TRICKY WORDS EXPLAINED: See Problem words in English
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