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Already, Yet & Still

February 18, 2016

Have your students already studied these time markers?

When we use the present perfect tense to describe a finished action at an unspecified time in the past, there are three common adverbs that serve as time markers. These adverbs can be tough for students to remember because they follow different sentence patterns. Presenting them all at once allows students to see and understand the differences.


Already is the easiest of the three time markers because this adverb follows a normal adverb sentence pattern.

Meaning: Already emphasizes that an action has been accomplished in the past.
Pattern: have/has + already + past participle
  • We have already decided to reschedule the meeting.
  • She has already read the Harry Potter books.


Yet has an unusual sentence pattern and always includes a negative verb.

Meaning: Yet signifies the intention to do something.
Pattern: have/has + not + past participle + (object) + yet
  • He has not called me back yet.
  • They haven't finished yet.
  • A: Have you completed your project?
    B: Not yet.*
*Note: Not yet is pretty common as a short answer.


Still can be tricky for students because there are two separate uses of this term. It is helpful to point out that with the present perfect tense, the verb must be negative, and with the present progressive, the verb is usually positive.

1. Present Perfect

Meaning: Like yetstill signifies the intention to do something.
Pattern: still + have/has + not + past participle
  • I still haven't completed my assignment.
  • My tropical plant still has not bloomed.

2. Present Progressive

Meaning: Still emphasizes an ongoing action.
Pattern: be + still + -ing verb
  • The students are still studying for the test.
  • He is still trying to find his keys.


Are your students still having trouble with these time markers? Try our related materials:

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Comments (1)

Alexandre A.(Teacher)

cool tips !??

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