wall street journal

In many ways, the jury is still out on the bail changes. The court system doesn’t yet have data showing if there are racial disparities as to who goes to jail and who is freed.

As I know that yet is mostly used with present perfect to give the meaning “up to the moment of speaking” but why has been, here, used with present tense?


1 Answer 1


When yet in the temporal sense means "up until now", the present tense with yet would be unidiomatic as an expression of something which has not taken place so far or has not been completed:

He does not pass his driving exam yet. unidiomatic

We would expect

He has not passed his driving exam yet.

But we can use a verb in the present tense with yet if the verb refers to a state

He does not have his drivers license yet.

The meaning of yet with states is "as of now".

We can use it with verbs in the present tense if they express ongoing action rather than action which completes (telicity). In that case the idea is that something is not ready to happen or begin, that now is too early or too soon for it, as it will happen in the future:

He does not go on stage yet. His part is in the next act.

He does not take his driving exam yet. He is too young.

Those same facts could be presented as things which have not taken place so far:

He has not gone on stage yet. His part is in the next act.

He has not taken his driving exam yet. He is too young.

Things can get complicated:

I have yet to see a pink elephant.

  • Applying these rules to the sentence, it means “the court from now ongoing doesn’t have data ....? Doesn’t it? As of now, they don’t have any date... Dec 30, 2017 at 18:12
  • Your court example is analogous to my driver's license example: He does not have his driver's license yet. He does not possess a driver's license now, as of this moment; possessing one may be in his future. But so far, he does not possess one. The court does not have data now; it is too soon for the court to have data. I think you may have mistaken what I meant by "ongoing action" -- I was referring there to a verb that does entail a notion of completion. Dec 30, 2017 at 19:25
  • What do you mean by unidiomatic?
    – Pierre
    Mar 16, 2021 at 17:44
  • 1
    @Pierre: If it is "unidiomatic", it sounds wrong to native speakers; they do not say it in that way.
    – Tim
    Mar 17, 2021 at 19:16

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