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Basic Grammar #14

Present perfect with just, already and yet

Present perfect with just, already and yet

Meaning and use

The present perfect is often used to say whether an action has happened or not at the present time. The action might be necessary or expected by someone, and we want to say if it is complete or not.

  • I’ve done the washing up, so come and sit down.

The words justalready and yet are very common with this use of the present perfect.

  • Nell’s just phoned with her exam results.
  • ‘Can you lock the back door?’ ‘I’ve already locked it.’
  • We can still catch the bus. It hasn’t left yet.

Just = a very short time ago

Already = before now or earlier than you/I expected

Yet = before now / until now

We use just and already mainly in positive sentences.

  • She’s just finished her second year at university.
  • I’ve already done that module.’ ‘Wow, that’s quick!’

We use yet in negative sentences and in questions.

  • Steve hasn’t decided which course to apply for yet.
  • Has your tutor approved your research topic yet?


The present perfect is made with subject + have/has/haven’t/hasn’t + past participle. We put just and already between have/has and the past participle.

We usually put yet at the end of a negative sentence or question.


  • ‘I think the lecture has just started so we haven’t missed much.’
  • ‘No, it’s already finished. It was an hour earlier than usual.’


  • I haven’t started the final assignment yet.


  • Have you handed in your end-of-year assignment yet?

Take note: already

It is possible to put already at the end of a positive sentence. This is more common in American English.

  • The lecture has already finished!
  • The lecture has finished already.

Spoken English

In sentences with just and already, there is usually no stress on has/have or on just/already. The stress is on the subject and the past participle.

  • The lecture has already finished.
  • Nell has just phoned.

But we can put stress on just/already if we want to emphasise how recently or early something happened.

  • ‘Has Nell phoned?’ ‘Yes, you’ve just missed her.’
  • ‘Call me back when the lecture finishes.’  ‘It’s already finished.’

We can also put already at the end of a question and stress it to show surprise.

  • Wow! Has the lecture finished already?

In sentences and questions with yet, there is stress on the past participle and also some stress on yet.

  • I haven’t missed a lecture yet this year.
  • Have you handed in your end-of-year assignment yet?




Source: BBC learning English

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