“already” is an adverb of time.
It has 2 meanings. Let’s look at each meaning in more detail.
Meaning 1 of “already”
We use “already” to indicate that something has happened before the moment of speaking.
Teacher: Do you need any help with the exercises?
Student: No thanks. I have already finished.
Jane: Tell the children to tidy their rooms.
Mark: They have already done it.
The window was already broken when we arrived.
Meaning 2 of “already”
We use “already” to express surprise that something has happened earlier than expected.
Hurry up! It’s already 4 o’clock.
They got married last year and they are already divorced.
Are you already going to bed ? It’s only 10 o’clock.
Position of “already” in a sentence
The position of the adverb “already” in a sentence depends on the type of verb.
If the sentence has a main verb:
Position: Before the main verb.
Example: I already know that I have failed the exam.
If the sentence has an auxiliary / modal verb:
Position: After the modal verb or first auxiliary verb and before the main verb.
Example: Mark was already cooking dinner when Jane arrived home.
If the sentence has the verb “be” as a main verb:
Position: After the verb “be”
Mark: What time is it?
Jane: It is already 3 o’clock.
“already” in end position
We can place “already” at the end of a sentence for more emphasis or to show more surprise.
This is more common in questions and in informal speech.
We raise our voice a bit more than usual at the end of the question on the word “already” in order to express the feeling of surprise.
Have they already sold their house? (surprised)
Have they sold their house already? (very surprised)
Is it already 7 o’clock? (surprised)
Is it 7 o’clock already? (very surprised)
Difference between “already” and “yet”
Compare the meaning of “already” with “yet” in the following sentences:
Are you already hungry?
Are you hungry already?
(Wow, I’m surprised. That was sooner than expected! You ate 2 hours ago!)
Are you hungry yet?
(Are you hungry now? I’m expecting you to be hungry now or soon in the future.)
Difference between “already”, “yet” and “ever”
Compare the meaning of “already“, “yet” and “ever” in the following sentences:
Have you already been to Dubai?
Have you been to Dubai already?
(Wow, I’m surprised. That was sooner than expected! I thought your trip was planned for next year.)
Have you been to Dubai yet?
(Have you been to Dubai in the past? I know you had plans to go. If not, I expect you to go in the future. Neutral tone without surprise.)
Have you ever been to Dubai?
(Have you been to Dubai at any time in the past at least once? Do you know Dubai?)
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