Grammar-QuizzesVerb PhrasesVerb GroupsPresent Perfect › Already vs. Yet

Already vs. Yet

Indicate completed or delayed timing for an action

Waiting for the bus
 

Read the Context

Lindsey walked to the bus stop. There she found another woman waiting.

Lindsey: Has the #51 bus come yet?"

Woman: Yes, it has come and gone already.

Lindsey:  Really? It's 6:20 just now. I can't believe it has already left."

Woman: Yes, it was early. Mine is late though. I'm still waiting for the #41 bus. I've already waited twenty minutes for it.

Lindsey: That's unfortunate. I wonder why it hasn't arrived yet.

Woman: My phone app shows that an accident is causing traffic.

Lindsey: In that case, I shouldn't become impatient yet.

 

 

 

Already v. Yet — completed or delayed timing

ALREADY – EARLIER

Already indicates that the action expressed by the verb (1) may have happened sometime "before and up to now"; (2) may have happened earlier than expected; (3) has probably ended. Interrogatives with already suggest that the expected action has probably happened.

DECLARATIVE (STATEMENT)

The bus has come and gone already. (occurred at a time before now)

I can't believe it has already left

already timeline

I have already waited twenty minutes for it. (ongoing before and up to now)

already timeline

INTERROGATIVE (QUESTION)

Has the bus come? (uncertain)

Has the #51 bus come already? (probably has left)

YET – LATER

Yet indicates that the action expressed by the verb (1) may not have happened so far; (2) may happen later than expected; (3) may extend into the future. Interrogatives with yet express uncertainty about whether the action has happened or not.                                              

DECLARATIVE (STATEMENT)

The bus hasn't arrived yet. (will occur at a time after now)

I wonder why the bus hasn't yet arrived.

yet timeline

I haven't waited too long yet.  (maybe ongoing after now)

yet timeline

INTERROGATIVE (QUESTION)

Has the bus come? (uncertain)

Has the #51 bus come yet? (uncertain)

 

*not used / incorrect

aspect — in grammar, indicates how an action, event or state expressed by the verb, how it extends over time—ongoing, continuous, repetitive, habitual. The timing is not limited to a single point in time. "The progressive takes an internal view, looking at it from inside, as it were, as something ongoing, in progress. The unmarked, non-progressive, version takes an external view: there is no explicit reference to any internal phase or any feature of the temporal flow (such as whether the situation is conceive of as instantaneous or having duration through time." (Huddleston 117)

aspectual adverbsstill, already, yet, any longer, anymore—add modifying information about how the timing of the verb extends over time.
  (Azar 3-1) (Swan 566.1-6)  (Huddleston 8 §8 polarity-sensitive aspectual adjuncts; 10 § 4.7.4 polarity-sensitve items)

by the time — possibly before and up to X time.

so far — thus far; up to a particular time and continuing to the future

 

 

 

 

Already vs. Yet (Polarity)

In positive or negative environments

bus stop
 

Already vs. Yet—positive or negative polarity

POSITIVE POLARITY

Already occurs in a positive environment; the verb and other elements are neutral; that is, do not contain negative determiners (few), negative adverbs (rarely) negative verbs. Polarity¹                      

ALREADY

The bus has already arrived at the bus stop.  (action completed)

The bus has arrived at the bus stop already

STILL

We are still waiting for the bus to arrive. (action extends to the future)

*We have still been waiting for the bus to arrive. (not used with pres. perf.)

OTHER ADVERBIAL EXPRESSIONS

The bus has previously arrived at the bus stop. 

The bus has by this time arrived at the bus stop.  (reasonable expectation)

The bus has just now arrived at the bus stop.  (visual or verbal confirmation)

QUESTION / IF

Has the bus arrived at the bus stop already (likely)

I'll be surprised if the bus has arrived at the bus stop already(unlikely)

I wonder why the bus has arrived at the bus stop already(early)

NEGATIVE POLARITY

Yet occurs in a negative environment; the verb or some other element of the clause is negative. See Negatives for examples of negative environments.                                   

YET

The bus hasn't arrived at the bus stop yet. (so far – may extend to future)

No bus has arrived at the bus stop yet

STILL

The bus still hasn't arrived at the bus stop. (so far – may extend to future)

We are still waiting for the bus.

ANY LONGER / ANYMORE

We are not waiting for the bus any longer / anymore(action completed)

No longer are we waiting for the bus. (action completed)

*Anymore are we waiting for the bus. (not used)

QUESTION / IF

Has the bus arrived at the bus stop yet (uncertain)

I'll be surprised if the bus hasn't arrived yet. (It should be there.)

I wonder why the bus hasn't arrived yet. (uncertain)

 

*not used; incorrect / ~borderline use; awkward sounding to some

likely – probable; It is likely / probable that it has arrived.

¹polarity—some words occur only in negative or only in positive environments. Already is positively-oriented, occurring in neutral environments. Yet is negatively-oriented, occurring in negative environments (negative verbs). One way to test a clause for polarity is by adding a tag question, for example, The bus has arrived, hasn't it? (The main clause is positive; the tag question is negative.)  The bus hasn't arrived, has it? No buses have arrived, have they? The buses have yet to arrive, have they? (The main clause is negative; its tag question is positive.)  See tests for polarity in Cambridge Grammar of English Language 9 §1.1.

Negative polarity sensitive words occur in negative environments:  any, anybody, any longer, any more, anyone, anything, anywhere, at all, either, ever, long, much, until, too, yet. 

Also see Negatives—verbs, determiners and word forms.  (Huddleston 8 § 14.1.2 [if…yet], 9 § 4.3 [b]) [negation]; 10 § 4.7.4 polarity-sensitve items)

Also see Too v. Either—Polarity and Some v. Any–Polarity.

 

 

 

Have yet to  (advanced)

Express delayed timing without a negative

 

 

Yet before an infinitive

HAVE NOT YET + PARTICIPLE

Normally, yet occurs in a negative clause with a present perfect verb. Yet is placed after the auxiliary (have/has) and before the past participle (e.g., received).

NEGATIVE

We have not yet received your application to our program.

(We have not received it.)

Scientists have not yet found a solution to the problem.

He has not yet won a majority of the vote.

The course hours have not yet been determined.

I have not yet heard from you.

What has not yet been done.

*What is not yet been done.

HAVE YET + INFINITIVE

In formal, legal, business, and everyday speech, yet can also be used before an infinitive and without a negative. The clause is, however, negative. 

NEGATIVE

We have yet to receive your application to our program.  (omit not)

(We have not received it.)

Scientists have yet to find a solution to the problem.

He has yet to win a majority of the vote.

The course hours have yet to be determined¹. (TBD²)

I have yet to hear from you.

What has yet to be done¹. What's yet to be done.

*What is yet to be done?

 

¹ passive infinitive; see Nonfinite Clauses–passive future timing.

² TBD – a placeholder abbreviation for something that has not been decided or arranged yet in a schedule " to be determined", also TBA when something has yet "to be arranged".

 

 

 

Already / Yet

Sentence Position

worker

 

 

Already v. yet – clause positions

ALREADY

Already mostly occurs in the medial and final positions of clauses. In the medial position, it is placed before the verb group, or after the auxiliary verb. In the final position it is placed after the object (if there is one.)

INITIAL

¹ Already have we seen a number of our brave soldiers killed.

(Initial placement is used for special emphasis; it occurs rarely.)

MEDIAL

We already have finished the work.

We have already finished the work.

Have you already finished the work? (likely)

³We already finished our work.  (informal)

BUT NOT

*We have finished already the work.

FINAL

We have finished the work already.

Have you finished the work already?(likely)

 

YET

Yet mostly occurs in the final position, but may be brought forward for emphasis, after the auxiliary and before the participle.

INITIAL

¹ Yet have we begun our labor.

(Initial placement is used for special emphasis; it occurs very rarely.)

MEDIAL

We haven't yet finished the work.

² We have yet to receive a response.

BUT NOT

*We yet haven't finished the work.

*We haven't finished yet the work.

 

FINAL

We haven't finished the work yet.

Have you finished the work yet?(uncertain)

³ We didn't finish the work yet.  (informal)

 

*not used

¹ Initial placement occurs very rarely; it might occur in a speech or in prose to achieve a particular effect or emphasis. Note the subject-auxiliary inversion.

² Yet may occur in a clause without a negative marker; however, the meaning is understood as negative.  We have yet to receive a response. (We have not yet received a response.) or We have yet begun to fight.  [We have not yet begun to fight.]  See Have yet to, above.

³Because aspectual adverbs, already and yet, express how the action of the verb extends over time, they are not especially compatible with the past tense. Nevertheless, already and yet may occur with the past tense in the usage of some speakers.

 

 

 

 

Present Perfect Adverbs (time expressions)

Specify the timing of an action or activity

tourists
 

 

Adverbs for Present Perfect Tense

DEFINITE TIMING  "HAPPENING BEFORE AND UP TO NOW"

Adverbial expressions with definite timing are used when actions have starting times and ending times relative to the current moment (now). Compare (1) I have just walked to class this morning. The period ended when I arrived at class. (done, perfective) to (2) I have been walking to class this morning. The period will end when I arrive at class. (may be ongoing, imperfective)

BOTH PROG. NONPROGRESSIVE BOTH PROG. & NONPROGRESSIVE

He has just visited Pisa.

He has just been visiting Pisa.

He has visited Pisa today.

He has been visiting Pisa today

A TIME PERIOD RELATIVE TO NOW A STARTING TIME UP TO NOW

just (just, recently, [neg.] lately)

I have just walked a mile.

I have just been walking a mile.

today¹ / tonight (a time starting from within this time to current time) 

 

so far(to date, up to now, until now)

I have read 40 pages so far.

*I have been reading 40 pages so far.

this month¹  (a time starting from within this time to current tim:morning, evening, week, semester, this spring, year, decade, century)

already (earlier than expected)

I have walked 10 minutes already.

I have been walking 10 minutes already.

since / ever since(from this time to current time: 6:00 AM, noon, midnight, this morning, May 2012; ever since I met you)

yet (later than expected)

I haven't walked 10 minutes yet.

*I haven't been walking 10 minutes yet.

from last Monday until now(1 PM until now)

 

 

 

 

INDEFINITE TIMING "HAPPENING SOMETIME"

Adverbial expressions with indefinite timing are used when activities or states happen "sometime", not related to the current moment (now). The precise time is not important. The focus is on the activity or state.  These adverbs express duration (a period of time) or repetition (the interval of occurrence). They are mostly imperfective (may extend in the future).

MOSTLY PROGRESSIVE BOTH PROG. & NONPROGRESSIVE

He has visited Pisa recently.

He has been visiting temporarily.

He has often given tours.

~He has often been giving tours.

DURATION— PERIOD REPETITION — INTERVAL

temporarily(continuously, briefly, momentarily) [imperfective, ongoing]

⇒ Mostly progressive.

repeatedly(constantly, continuously, again and again, perpetually, eternally)

⇒ Switch to "keep" with progressive.³

for a moment (ten minutes, a week, a month, for a while², a little while, a day,  forever)  ⇒ Often present perfect.

always (routinely, customarily, usually, in general, normally, often, sometimes, hardly ever, never) 

during the week (month, year, etc.)

⇒ Mostly nonprogressive.

ever  (requesting any experience: before) 

from Monday to Tuesday(1 PM to 2 PM, morning to night)

all my life

at night (noon, midnight, sunset)

in spring (winter, summer, June, July)

while it is warm(a relative period of time: when, if, whenever, before, after)  before sunrise  (after)

on Mondays (Tuesday, Sundays, etc.)

most days (nights, weekends, etc.)

over the past year (weeks, decades, centuries)

throughout the year (weeks, decades, centuries)

every / each / every other  (hour, day, night, week, month, year, May, spring)

 

¹ time expressions such as like today or this month include time that is past, present and future. With the present tense, we understand the time to be present, current, now.

² for a while (PP) – can be understood in two ways: (1) having some amount of duration, or (2) being very temporary

³ keep + verb+ing – Repetition can be expressed by using the "keep" (I keep walking.  He kept smiling.)  The progressive with "repeatedly" (*I am walking to class repeatedly. )sounds awkward.

Also see Ever v. Never, Already v. Yet., Adverbs of Frequency, For v Since.

"Leaning Tower of Pisa–Exterior." By Jordiferrer. Wikimedia, 7 Aug. 2016. Licensed under CC BY-SA4.0 International.

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

~He didn't buy a phone yet.  (tense conflict with adverb)

~I already went there.  (informal, but commonly used)

~/* I didn't go there yet.

*I already seen him.  (missing auxiliary verb)

 

*He is yet to arrive.

 

SOLUTION

He hasn't bought a phone yet. 

Past tense expresses a single, completed past event. Yet expresses timing that is ongoing, continuous, and it may extend into the future.

have already been/gone there.

have not gone there yet.

have already seen him.

 

He has yet to arrive.  He's yet to arrive.

The contraction he's may sound like he Is, but it is he has. (present perfect)

 

*not used, incorrect / ~awkward sounding though commonly heard

 

 

Works Cited

 

 

 

Practice 1

Expecting a Baby

a pregnant woman
 

 

Complete the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 1-10" button at the bottom, or click the check button to the left  as you go.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

ZZZCars are Sleepers for Now

self-driving car

 

 

Read for Errors

In January of this year, George Vonn, CEO and founder of AutoDrive, announced that the company's profits have decreased even though they have already have over 100,000 orders for their self-driving ZZZCar model. Vonn said that their factory was not yet supplied sufficiently to produce the cars as fast as he had hoped. The factory is still working at only 70% of its capacity. Already Vonn has made agreements to subcontract the production of batteries to other producers. However, these other suppliers have not delivered the batteries yet. He was unsure whether the problem was due to production or transportation. 

Work has begun already on a new battery factory near the main ZZZCar assembly plant. Vonn hopes this will solve the slow delivery time for batteries. However, he could not say already when the the new factory would be ready.

Customers are becoming impatient because they have yet not received their cars. And they have put down $2,000 already on their order.

Vonn promises to improve production and customer relations.

assembly plant (N) – large factory where cars are put together and finished

capacity (N) –  actual potential to perform; ability to produce a product

CEO – Chief Executive Officer (like the president of a company)

customer relations (N) – the connection of trust between seller and buyer

decrease (V) – become less; go down

due to (PP) – because of

earnings (N) – wages or company profits

facility (N) – building designed for a specific purpose

factory (N) – a building or group of buildings with facilities for manufacturing goods.

impatient (Adj) – tired of waiting

put down (expression) – place a deposit  (a promise to buy and finish paying for)

"a sleeper" (expression) – something slow moving, uninteresting, boring

solve (V) – fix; be the answer to the problem

subcontract (V) – buy parts from a third-party vendor (seller)

supply (N) – have an available amount of something that is needed

zzz – representation of the sound that a sleeping person makes

 

 

Correct the Errors

  1. Select "correct" or "incorrect".
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or " check 11-18" button.

 

11.
They have already have over 100,000 orders for their driverless ZZZCar model..
   

12.
Vonn said that their factory was not yet supplied sufficiently to produce the cars as fast as he had hoped.
   

13.
Already Vonn has made agreements to subcontract the production of batteries to other producers.
    Incorrect

14.
However, these other suppliers have not delivered the batteries yet.
   

15.
Work has begun already on a new battery factory near the main ZZZCar assembly plant.
   

16.
However, he could not say already when the the new factory would be ready..
 

17.
Customers are becoming impatient because they have yet not received their cars.
   

18.
And they have put down $2,000 already on their order.
   

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

The Viewpoint of the Customer

 

Read the Context

Dear ZZZCar customer service representative,

In August of last year, we stood in a long line outside your ZZZCar showroom and put down a $2,000 deposit for a self-driving car.  It is now February, and we have not received notification that our car is ready for delivery. We understand that you have had factory delays; however, it has been six months since we placed our order.

 

We have not given up on receiving our ZZZCar, but we are becoming impatient. We would like an estimate of when the car will be ready. If the car will not be ready by the end of March, we will request that you kindly return our deposit of $2,000.

Sincerely, (name)

 

 

 

Add an aspectual adverb—already or yet—to the sentence.

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 18-22" button.

 

19.
It is now February, and we have not received notification that our car is ready for delivery.
ADD: already, yet or still.


20.
We understand that you have had factory delays; however, it has been six months since we placed our order.
ADD: already, yet or still.


21.
We have not given up on receiving our ZZZCar, but we are becoming impatient.
ADD: already, yet or still.


22.
If the car will not be ready by the end of March, we will request that you kindly return our deposit of $2,000.
ADD: already, yet or still.