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Session 5

Learners' Questions

Welcome to Learners' Questions - the series where we answer your queries about the English language. What will this week's learner question be?

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Learners' Questions

Yet

Viji in India says: yet is similar in meaning to but. But, people also say not yet. This is confusing.

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Dan
Hi guys! Dan for BBC Learning English here with this week's Learner Question. Find out what it is after this.

OK! This week's Learner Question comes from Viji from India, who writes: yet is similar in meaning to but. But, people also say not yet. This is confusing. For example, did you receive the book? Not yet. Please explain. Ok Viji. It’s no problem at all.

So, yet can be used as an adverb as well as a co-ordinating conjunction.

Yet is similar in meaning to but. But is a co-ordinating conjunction when used to talk about contrasting statements. For example, they can speak Arabic, but they can’t read or write it.

We use yet as the preferred alternative to but when we want to emphasise the contrast to achieve a stronger effect. For example, they can speak Arabic, yet they can’t read or write it.

We sometimes put and in front of yet when it’s used in this way. For example, they can speak Arabic, and yet they can’t read or write it.

However and nevertheless are also sometimes used as more formal alternatives to yet. For example, he had no chance of winning the race. However, he kept going as fast as he could. Or, she had not slept for three nights. Nevertheless, she insisted on going to work the next day.

Yet can also be used as an adverb to talk about something over a period of time up to now - often with a sense of expectation. For example, is lunch ready yet?

Yet is often used with a negative form when we say that something hasn’t happened up to a point in the present. It’s most commonly used with the present perfect tense, although in American English they tend to use it with the past simple tense.

Still can sometimes be used as an alternative to yet, and it’s more emphatic. When we use still, we are surprised that something hasn’t happened. Compare the following: I haven’t been to Wales or Scotland yet, though I’ve visited England many times. Or, I still haven’t been to Wales or Scotland, but I’ve visited England many times.

I hope that answers your question Viji. Thank you very much for writing to us. If anybody else out there has a question for Learners’ Questions, you can email us on: learning.english@bbc.co.uk. Please remember to put Learners’ Questions in the subject box and your name and where you’re writing from. We get a lot of emails, guys, I’m afraid we can’t answer all of them, but we do read every single one. And for more information, go to our website: bbclearningenglish.com. That’s it for this week’s Learners’ Questions. I’ll see you next time. Bye!

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Summary

Yet
Yet can be used as an adverb as well as a co-ordinating conjunction.

Co-ordinating conjunction
Yet is similar in meaning to but. They are both used to talk about contrasting statements. We use yet as the preferred alternative to but when we want to emphasise the contrast to achieve a stronger effect. We sometimes put and in front of yet when it’s used in this way.
They can speak Arabic, but they can’t read or write it.
They can speak Arabic, yet they can’t read or write it.
They can speak Arabic, and yet they can’t read or write it.

However and nevertheless are also sometimes used as more formal alternatives to yet.
He had no chance of winning the race. However, he kept going as fast as he could.
She had not slept for three nights. Nevertheless, she insisted on going to work the next day.

Adverb
Yet can also be used as an adverb to talk about something over a period of time up to now - often with a sense of expectation.
Is lunch ready yet?

Yet is often used with a negative form when we say that something hasn’t happened up to a point in the present. It’s most commonly used with the present perfect tense, although in American English they tend to use it with the past simple tense.

Still
Still can sometimes be used as an alternative to yet, and it’s more emphatic. When we use still, we are surprised that something hasn’t happened. Compare the following:
I haven’t been to Wales or Scotland yet, but I’ve visited England many times.
I still haven’t been to Wales or Scotland, but I’ve visited England many times. 

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Learners’ Questions Quiz

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End of Session 5

Well, that's it for this unit! Join us again in Unit 24 for more Exam Skills, News Review, Pronunciation in the News, The Teachers' Room and Learners' Questions!

Session Grammar

  • Yet
    Co-ordinating conjunction between two contrasting sentences
    Adverb meaning from the past until now