'just', 'yet', 'still' and 'already'

Do you know how to use just, yet, still and already with the present perfect?

Look at these examples to see how just, yet, still and already are used.

I've just seen Sai. He's really enjoying his new job.
We haven't decided what to do yet.
I still haven't called Yumi to see how she is.
I've already had lunch but I'll join you for coffee.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

'just', 'yet', 'still' and 'already': Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

We often use just, yet, still and already with the present perfect because they are related to the present moment. This page focuses on the meaning and use of these words when they are used with the present perfect.

just

Just used with the present perfect means 'a short time before'.

I've just seen Susan coming out of the cinema.
Mike's just called. Can you ring him back, please?
Have you just taken my pen?!

Just comes between the auxiliary verb (have/has) and the past participle.

yet

Yet used with the present perfect means 'at any time up to now'. We use it to emphasise that we expect something to happen soon. Yet (in this context) is only used in negative sentences and questions.

Have you finished your homework yet?
I haven't finished it yet. I'll do it after dinner.
A. Where's Sam? B: He hasn't arrived yet.

Yet comes at the end of the sentence or question.

still

Still used with the present perfect means that something hasn't happened. We use it to emphasise that we expected the thing to happen earlier. Still (in this context) is only used in negative sentences.

I've been waiting for an hour and the bus still hasn't come.
They promised me that report yesterday but they still haven't finished it.
She still hasn't replied to my email. Maybe she's on holiday.

Still comes between the subject (the bus, they, etc.) and auxiliary verb (haven't/hasn't).

already

Already used with the present perfect means 'before now'. We use it to emphasise that something happened before something else or earlier than expected.

I've already spent my salary and it's two weeks before payday.
He wanted to see
Sudden Risk but I've already seen it.
The train's left already!

Already can come between the auxiliary and the main verb or at the end of the clause.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

'just', 'yet', 'still' and 'already': Grammar test 2

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Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)

Hi Sayinsu,

"I have just done it" (notice the position of "just") means the action was recent (e.g. only moments ago).

"I've done it" may or may not be recent. The present perfect is used for recent actions, but it's also used for actions in an unfinished time period and past actions with a result in the present (see the Present Perfect page for more explanation and examples), and those actions are not necessarily recent. For example, if I am telling somebody about the sports that I have done in my life, I could say "I've done surfing, skydiving, skiing and snowboarding". The sentence gives no information about when I did those sports - it could have been recently or many years ago.

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sayinsu,

We use already to signal that something no longer needs to be done:

I've already bought the eggs. [= you don't need to do it]

It's particularly common in two uses. First, when we want to tell something that they no longer need to do something, as in the example above. Second, to indicate that something was done unexpectedly early. For example:

A: Can you send an email to Bob with the new information?

B: No need - I've already done it.

A Great!

You can also use already with other verb forms than the present perfect:

She started university at the age of fourteen and by the age of twenty she already had a doctorate.

I can't believe it! There are still three weeks of the football season left and we're already champions!

He's a fast driver so he'll probably already be there.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I still haven't seen any examples of an English test. But I've already dealt with some language tests, so I might know how to pass them successfully. I've just looked at the test structure, but I haven't decided yet what type of the test it will be.

I'm aware that "already" generally follows the BE verb, but can it not also sometimes correctly precede it when the sense is marked by contrast such as in the following example: "Melody will be a beautiful woman some day." "She already IS a beautiful woman." ?

Hello tastybrain,

Yes, that's correct. The normal position for 'already' is mid-position, i.e. with all main verbs except 'be', it typically comes between the subject and main verb or, when there's an auxiliary verb, after the auxiliary verb; with the main verb 'be', it typically comes after 'be'.

But it's also used at the end of sentences (or before the main verb 'be') for emphasis or to show surprise, as you describe.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

How can i distinguish the usage between "already" and "just"? Thank you very much!

Hello WilliamsBen1904,

When used with present perfect, 'just' refers to a short time before the action. It's impossible to tell exactly how long that 'short time' is because it depends on the speaker's perspective, but in general it's quite short.

'already' can refer much further back in time, or it can refer to a very recent time. 'already' often expresses the idea that the speaker didn't expect the action to happen so quickly, but it can be used in other ways as well.

You might find the following two pages from the Cambridge Dictionary useful, as both have more examples you can read:

1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/already
2. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/just (see especially the section called 'Just and expressions of time' -- it can also be used to express other meanings)

Hope this helps.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, could kindly let me know if there is a difference between these two sentences. They haven't released the movie yet. They still haven't released the movie. or the movie still hasn't been released Thanks.

Hi Maahir,

They mean the same thing, but the sentences with still emphasise a bit more strongly that the movie should have been released by now. :)

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

You mention in the section concerning YET, " Yet (in this context) is only used in negative sentences and questions." YET can be used with an affirmative structure in the following way, can't it? Ralph has bought a bicycle but has yet to use it. "Yet", in this sense doesn't require a negative form nor a simple present for that matter. Am I using the structure properly?

Hello Jerry Plamondon,

Yes, as you observe, on this page we cover the most common uses of these words, but this does not mean there are not others.

Your sentence is correct -- well done!

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again. I was reading again the information about "just" and I'd like to know if using it in questions has a negative connotation always, or not necessarily. It seems in the example that it does have a certain tone and every example I can think of, does too. Thanks in advance. :)

Hello Alicelle,

I'm not sure I understand your question correctly. Could you post an example sentence or two to show what you mean. We'll be happy to comment, but I think it will be clearer that way and we'll be sure we are giving you correct information.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter. Thank you very much for your reply. The first example I'd like to refer to is the one that appears on this webpage: "Have you just taken my pen?!" This question is using an exclamation mark, so I understand that the person is complaining because the other person took her pen... Is this correct? Some other examples I can't think of are: "Have you just done your homework?", "Have you just drunk my coffee?", "Have you just bought a new car?" In all of them, I imagine a person being angry or surprised about those situations. Is it like that? It seems to me that using "just" gives the questions that tone of anger and/or surprise... Thanks in advance for your help!

Hello again Alicelle,

That makes things clearer - thank you.

I think the use of just in negative sentences does show surprise but not necessarily anger. You could show a positive sense of surprise, for example:

Something smells nice. Oh, have you just made biscuits? Wow!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. I still have a doubt. Can we use "still" in questions? I understand that it is only for negative sentences because of the meaning it has when used with the present perfect, but I found this example in a textbook: "You still haven't seen that movie?" So, I wonder if it is possible to do the inversion in the question and ask something like this: "Haven't you still seen that movie?" Thanks for your help! :D

Hi Alicelle,

No, it would need to change to yetHaven't you seen that movie yet? 

Your previous example is very interesting. It is a question, but the sentence structure is that of a negative sentence (not a question, as there is no inversion). That's why still works well here, but not in the inverted question. 

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

I captured well but It's fine to use already with the present perfect like I have already sent the message. I have captured the course. I have listen the radio. I have eaten delicious meal.
Hello. I'm confused about the tenses to use with "just now". Can I use present perfect with it? Ex: I have just now arrived. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

People usually say 'I've just arrived' or 'I'm just now arriving', but I don't think there's anything wrong with 'I've just now arrived'.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Is there any difference in using both yet and still in negative setence? For example, The ambulance hasn't arrived at spot of accident yet. The ambulance still hasn't arrived at spot of accident.

Hello Min Htet Kaung,

The main difference is the position of the adverb: yet usually comes at the end of the clause while still comes before the verb phrase. In your examples the word order is correct.

In terms of meaning, the difference is minimal and both are often possible. I would say that yet is more neutral in terms of the speaker's attitude, while still can in some contexts suggest impatience on the part of the speaker. In other words, still sometimes indicates that the action is taking longer than it should, or is later than expected.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, > We haven't needed extra staff as yet, but we may in the future > No ambulances had as yet managed to get across the river. > We have not as yet received a response. I am confused about the meaning and use of "as yet" in the above sentences. How is it different from '...extra staff yet', '...had yet to manage to...' and 'have not yet received'? Thanks in advance.
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Subido por Jonathan R el Lun, 07/09/2020 - 04:29

En respuesta a por hyunjoo76

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Hi hyunjoo76,

Interesting question. Yet and as yet (and also as of yet) are similar. But:

  • As yet suggests a little bit more strongly that the situation will change (e.g. that we will need extra staff, sooner or later).
  • As yet is more formal in style than yet, which is neutral in style. 
  • As yet can be separated from the verb phrase (unlike yet at least in its meaning of something not happening up to the present moment). For example, we could rephrase the sentence as: As yet, we haven't needed extra staff ... But this is not possible with yet.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, Any exceptions where already can be used with present tense? “She already knows”. Or must it be “She has already known”?

Hello Piglet,

It's fine to use already with the present. For example:

She's already doing it. [there's no need to ask her]

I already have a coffee. [I don't need you to make one]

He already takes the bus to work. [there's no need to suggest it]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, Specific to the verb "know" - would it be wrong to use the present tense form with already? Such as: She already knows. I already know. Must I use it as She has already know; I have already known? Thank you.

Hello Piglet,

It's fine to use already with the present simple like that.

However, generally we do not use the present perfect with verbs relating to knowledge (think, remember, know etc) or to senses (see, feel, smell etc). The exception to this is when we are talking about a defined time up to the present:

She already knows. [not has known]

She's known for ten years.

She's known since 2010.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I do not quite understand this sentence. "However, we do not use the present perfect with verbs relating to knowledge (think, remember, know etc) or to senses (see, feel, smell etc)." Did you mean that present perfect tense for verbs related to knowledge and senses are not used with 'already', or did you mean that typically present perfect tense for verbs related to knowledge and senses are just not applicable? Are these examples wrong then? I have known him to be someone kind. All along, I have thought that apples are sour.

Hello again Piglet,

I'm sorry if my reply was not clear. I meant that we do not generally use the present perfect with verbs relating to knowledge when we use already. I assumed this was clear from the context of the original question but should have made it explicit to avoid confusion.

The examples you quote are fine. Obviously, they do not use the adverb already.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again, Does the rule and explanation have to do with knowledge and senses being stative verbs? Are there exceptions to it? "They've already seen the movie" sounds like a correct sentence to me, despite see being a stative verb. "I already knew" - this is correct right? Thank you, LearnEnglish Team.

Hello again Piglet,

These are not rules so much as tendencies - a useful rule of thumb, but not a fixed grammatical rule.

It is possible to use stative verbs with the present perfect and already in certain contexts. For example:

You should get a dog. Until you've owned a dog, you don't know what a joy it is.

I've already owned a dog, thanks. I don't want another one.

 

Note that 'see' in your example is not a stative verb. It's used in this context as a substitute for 'watch', which is dynamic.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear English Team, May I know what is the difference between a sentence with "yet" and one without "yet"? For example: "I have not yet finished my proposal." vs " I have not finished my proposal" "Has your passport arrived yet?" vs "Has your passport arrived?" Another question: I saw a structure of be/have yet to do sth. "They have yet to reply to our offer." How is it different from "They have not yet replied to our offer"? Many thanks.

Hi IsabelTim_123,

Adding yet in the sentences adds a bit of extra meaning. It means that the speaker has some expectation that the action should have happened by now, or will happen soon. For example, I have not finished my proposal yet suggests that he/she might finish it sometime soon. Without yet, the sentence is just stating that the proposal isn't finished. Has your passport arrived yet? suggests that I expected it to have already arrived. If it's very late, for example, you could say this.

About your second question, the two sentences mean the same thing! But the first version (be/have + yet to do something) is more formal in style.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your detailed explanation! Could "Has your passport arrived yet?" be used when I expect the passport to arrive soon instead of expecting it to have already arrived? Also, is there any difference between "be yet to do" and "have yet to do"? Thank you.

Hi IsabelTim_123,

Yes! You can use yet in that situation.

No, there's no difference in meaning between be yet to and have yet to. But I just checked the frequency of both phrases, and it seems that have yet to is more commonly used. 

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

It is such an interesting topic, I consider that linkers and adverbs give us much more fluency in our conversations, that is the way how we can express our thoughts. I have already done this activity, it is well explained and understandable.

Hello CHEKYTAN,

You can use still with affirmative verb forms:

He still lives there.

I'm still working at the factory.

 

You can use yet with the be +to verb future forn:

He is yet to finish.

With other verb forms yet sounds very archaic and is not normally used in modern English.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team