Just three short words ya, todavía and aún and yet so much chaos when you try to study Spanish. Let’s have a look at these frequently used Spanish adverbs of time and wrap our head around them.

Both todavía and aún indicate that an action started in the past and continues to the present. It’s the same as still in English.

¡Es increíble! Son las 12 y todavía está durmiendo. (Incredible! It`s 12 o’clock and he’s still sleeping.)
¿Aún estás en la tienda? Creía que te habías ido a casa. (You’re still in the shop?! I thought you went home.)

If we use todavía and aún with a negative verb, we say that the action we are talking about is not finished. In English we can choose between still and yet, although yet is more common in negative sentences.

Aún no he acabado mis deberes. Espera un momento. (I haven’t finished my homework yet. Wait a moment.)
Todavía/aún no ha pagado la cuenta. (He still hasn’t paid the bill.)

Let’s have a closer look at ya. We use ya to say that the action we are talking about is finished. In this case we usually place ya before the verb. In English we use the adverb already.

Ya he terminado fregar los platos. Podemos salir. (I’ve finished washing the dishes already. We can go out.)
Nuestra ropa ya está seca. (Our clothes is already dry.)

We can also use ya in questions to ask if an action is finished or not. This corresponds to already or yet in English.

¿Has hablado ya con Dani? (Have you already talked with Dani?/ Have you talked with Dani yet?)

Ya no indicates that an action started in the past but doesn’t continue to the present. In English we use not…anymore or no longer to talk about this kind of situations.

Ya no trabajo en el supermercado. Ahora trabajo en la oficina. (I don’t work at the supermarket anymore. Now I work at the office.)

Finally, ya used together with present simple means now.

La fiesta ya está acabada. Ya podemos irnos. (The party is already finished. We can go now.)

Now when you know the theory, have a look at these sentences:

No salgas. Todavía está nevando. ≠ Puedes salir ahora. Ya no está nevando.
Todavía no han visitado Valencia. ≠ Ya han visitado Valencia.

Can you see the difference in the meaning? If yes, congratulations, you’ve just mastered these tricky Spanish words. If you need more practice, click here.

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