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'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

Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

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.

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

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