Using ‘yet’ and ‘already’

(‘already’ and ‘yet’ in the different types of sentences)

Table of contents – use of ‘already & yet’

On this page you will find the following:

  1. ‘already’ and ‘yet’
  2. ‘yet’ as conjunction
  3. Particularities of ‘yet’
  4. Further explanations and exercises

How do you use ‘yet’ and ‘already’ in English?

Both words yet and already are adverbs and are often confused when used in a sentence. Although this may not lead to a communication problem in most cases, the sense behind it (of the statement) gets distorted.

The actual problem here is that some languages do not make a distinction between ‘yet’ and ‘already’ in terms of their meaning. Therefore, a direct translation from those languages into English may be difficult.

Consider the following basic rules for their use. The examples also show that both words are regularly employed in combination with perfect tenses (for example, the present perfect). For those tenses, they are also signal words:

  • already’ appears in positive statements and then in the middle of the sentence. However, it is possible to diverge from this position occasionally:
    • “The visitors have already left.”
      • already’ stands in the middle of the sentence which means directly before the main verb or after the auxiliary.
    • “I’ve done it already.”
      • Here, ‘already’ is located at the end of the sentence. This frequently happens in spoken language.
  • yet’, on the contrary, can generally be found in questions and in negative statements and expresses that something has not happened. It usually occurs at the end of the sentence:
    • “Have you had dinner yet?”
      • In this case, the interrogator does not know if something has happened (in this example ‘the dinner’) and does not assume it either. In terms of meaning, the following sentence would not be suitable:
      • Not: “Have you already had dinner?”
    • “I haven’t received the parcel yet.”
      • In negatives, ‘not’ is usually used in combination with ‘yet’ and the meaning may slightly differ.
    • Info: In former times, a comma was often added before ‘yet’. This has changed and so it is not required in modern English anymore.

Use of ‘yet’ as a conjunction

The word ‘yet’ can also be a conjunction. When utilized in this way, it expresses the opposite and has a similar meaning as ‘even though, though, still’. It regularly appears together with ‘and’. Examples:

  • “The team tried so hard to win and yet it was not enough.”
    • Here, ‘and yet’ connects two independent clauses.
  • “Marc and Sandra are twins and yet completely different.”
    • In this example, ‘and yet’ merely joins parts of the sentence.

Special utilization of ‘yet’

Especially ‘yet’ can be used for additional purposes. Compare:

yet another’ for emphasis

In addition to the aforementioned utilization for temporal aspects, ‘yet another’ offers the possibility to emphasize parts of a statement. Read the following examples:

  • “The teacher said that the students would have to take yet another test.”
    • In this sentence, the emphasis is clearly put on the fact that there will even be ‘one more test’. It implies that some (or several) tests have already been taken.
  • “The teacher said that the students would have to take another test.”
    • This statement has more of a neutral tone. The next test could just be the second one.

yet to’ for things to happen

Additionally, the word combinations ‘be yet to’ and ‘have yet to’ can be employed for things that have to be done or that will happen at some time in the future. However, this usage is not very common and is rather typical in formal context:

  • If the verbs ‘be’ and ‘have’ appear in combination with ‘yet to’, they also have to be conjugated according to the subject. Compare the examples:
    • “The best is yet to come.”
    • “In the story, a lot of things are yet to happen.”
    • “The next step has yet to be decided.”

Further explanations related to the topic ‘already & yet’

The following explanations relate to the topic ‘Usingyet & already’’ and could also be helpful: