What is the meaning of “still” in English? What is the difference between “still” and “yet“? – This English lesson answers both of those questions.
“still” can be either an adjective or adverb.
“still” as an adjective
“still” describes something that is not moving. Something that is static and stays in the same position.
Those children never stay still.
The water in the lake is very still. (calm, no waves)
Another common example as an adjective is “still drink”
This is a drink that is not fizzy. A still drink is a drink without bubbles or gas.
Mark: Would you like a coke?
Jane: No I’d prefer a still drink please.
“still” as an adverb
“still” is also an adverb in English. More specifically, it is an adverb of time.
We use “still” to indicate and emphasise that something is continuing. A situation has NOT finished, perhaps surprisingly.
Mark: How are you feeling?
Jane: I have a cold.
Mark: How are you feeling today?
Jane: I still have a cold.
Position of “still” in a sentence
The position of “still” in a sentence depends on the type of verb:
If the sentence has a main verb without auxiliary verb, “still” comes immediately before it.
Example: I still watch cartoons.
If the sentence has an auxiliary / modal verb, “still” goes in the middle position between the auxiliary / modal and the main verb.
Example: He is still waiting for the bus.
Finally, if the sentence has the verb “be” as a main verb or linking verb, then “still” goes after the verb “to be“.
Example: I am still tired.
Opposite meaning of “still”
There are 3 structures which mean the opposite of “still“
“no longer” – Example: I’m no longer living in Bristol.
“not any more” – Example: I’m not living in Manchester any more.
“not any longer” – Example: I’m not living in London any longer.
“still” with negatives in the present perfect
We often use “still” with negative sentences in the present perfect to describe a situation that should have happened, but it has not happened.
The position of “still” is between the subject and the auxiliary verb “have“.
I still haven’t found my keys.
The customer still hasn’t paid the invoice.
“still” or “yet”
We use “still” to describe a continuing situation.
Mark and David still play video games together.
(They continue to play video games together.)
We do not use “yet“:
Mark and David yet play video games together.
Mark: Is Jane still living in New York?
(Meaning: I know she was living in New York. You told me last time we spoke. Does she continue to live there? )
David: Yes. She’s still living there. She loves it.
Mark: Is Jane living in New York yet?
(Meaning: I know she wanted to live in New York. You told me last time we spoke. Has she moved there? )
David: No, she’s going to move there next year.