Still, yet, already, and just
These 4 words are adverbs that are usually used with the present perfect tense (but not always). They are often very confusing for learners of the English language. Below is a brief explanation of each word, complete with an example sentence. After you study, take the quiz at the bottom of the page to check your usage.
‘Still’ is used to talk about something that hasn’t finished – especially when we expected it to finish earlier.
- I’ve been waiting for over an hour and the bus still hasn’t come.
- You promised to give me that report yesterday and you still haven’t finished it.
‘Still’ usually comes in ‘mid-position’
Still is often used with other tenses as well as the present perfect.
- I’ve still got all those letters you sent me.
- Are you still working in the bookshop?
‘Yet’ is used to talk about something which is expected to happen. It means ‘at any time up to now’. It is used in questions and negatives.
- Have you finished your homework yet? The speaker expects that the homework will be finished.
- I haven’t finished it yet. I’ll do it after dinner.
‘Yet’ usually comes at the end of the sentence.
‘Already’ is used to say that something has happened early – or earlier than it might have happened.
- I’ve already spent my salary and it’s two weeks before pay day.
- The train already left! What are we going to do?
‘Already’ usually comes in mid-position.
In British English, ‘Just’ is usually used only with the present perfect tense and it means ‘a short time ago’. In American English, we often use the simple past with just.
- I’ve just seen Susan coming out of the cinema. (I just saw Susan come out of the cinema.)
- Mike’s just called. Can you ring him back please? (Mike just called.)
- Have you just taken my pen? Where has it gone? (Did you just take my pen?)
In the present perfect, ‘just’ comes between the auxiliary verb (‘have’) and the past participle.