Difference Between Already and Yet

Already vs Yet

The words already and yet are used to talk about events that have happened before now or haven’t happened just before now. Both already and yet are very similar in meaning thereby confusing the students of English language. However, despite similarities, there are differences between these two adverbs that demand their use appropriately in right contexts. This article attempts to highlight their differences to enable students to use these words correctly.

The reason why students whose native language is not English remain confused between yet and already is because of the fact that both these adverbs talk about events that have taken place. Another fact to add to the confusion of students is the fact that both already and yet are used with the present perfect tense. However, the thing to remember is that ‘yet and already’ do not refer to events that are in progress at the time of talking.


Already is an adverb that is used to express surprise as the event took place sooner than expected. If something happens early, or earlier than expected, you need to make use of already to express your surprise. If something has taken place or happened just before the moment of speaking, you use already to indicate the fact. So if someone asks you if you have taken your lunch, you say you have already taken it if this is the fact. If your friend asks you to come along to see a movie, you say that you have already seen the movie. Take a look at the following sentences to understand the meaning of the adverb already.

• The wounded cow was already dead before it was taken out of the pit it had fallen into.

• I have already finished my lunch.

• I have already had a cup of tea (in response to a polite query if you would like to have a cup of tea).


Yet is an adverb that is placed at the end of a sentence and used to express the fact that an event has either just happened or not taken place till now. Yet is an adverb that is mostly used in negative sentences and in statements that are asking questions. Take a look at the following examples to understand the meaning of yet.

• Have you not been to Tokyo yet?

• They have not arrived yet.

• Have you taken your dinner yet?

What is the difference between Already and Yet?

• Yet is placed at the end of a sentence whereas already is placed in the middle of the sentence.

• Both yet and already are used in the present perfect tense.

• Yet is used in negative sentences or in sentences that are asking questions.

If something has happened sooner than expected, it is already that is to be used to express surprise.