Already vs. yet



I would like to know in which cases I can use already and yet. I am taking The Proficiency Course and it is one of the researches I have to do.

I have been working and I don't have a chance to search very much. Therefore, I study using the computer most of the time.

ClŠudia Oliveira
Posted 19 February 2003
Both already and yet can be used in questions:


Have you finished your work already?


Have you finished your work yet?

Already in a question often expresses surprise; in sentence (a), the speaker is surprised that you have finished your work by now. It is sooner than expected.

Yet in a question is more neutral; in sentence (b) the speaker just wants to know whether you have finished your work. The speaker is not expecting that you have finished it, nor is he/she expecting that you haven't.

Already is used in affirmative statements and indicates that something happens sooner than expected:

The baby is only eight months old, and she walks already!

We made an investment in real estate last year, and the value of the property has doubled already!

"When are you going to send me the information?" "I've already sent it. I sent it yesterday."

Yet is used in negative statements, and indicates that something still expected hasn't happened:

The baby is almost 18 months old, and she doesn't walk yet. Poor thing. Something must be wrong.

We made an investment in the stock market five years ago, and it hasn't made any money for us yet; in fact, the value of the stock is much lower than it was when we bought it!

"Have you sent me that information?" "Sorry, I haven't sent it yet. I'll send it this afternoon, I promise."

Yet often appears with a negative question, meaning that something was supposed to have occurred already, but probably hasn't; you are surprised that it hasn't:

Doesn't the baby walk yet?

Hasn't that stock made any money yet?

Haven't you sent me that information yet?

Yet can also mean "but." This use is a little formal:

Suzie has been studying Spanish for five years, yet she can't understand one word of it.

The citizens of the town want a lot more services from their government, yet they are not willing to pay any more taxes.




Three more points.

Yet means "still." It occurs in positive sentences:

He is yet a child.

Yet means "at a future time." It also occurs in positive sentences:

The time of the greatest possible human suffering is yet to come.

There are people who think the yet in the above sentence means "still".

Yet means "still". It modifies comparative forms:

Here is a yet sadder story.

Chuncan Feng

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