To get the meaning ' Hasn't he come until now ?' what should I ask 'Has he come yet ?or Hasn't he come yet?'

bumped to the homepage by Community 6 hours ago

This question has answers that may be good or bad; the system has marked it active so that they can be reviewed.

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jan 3 at 14:14

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.


In English, we normally form questions by reversing the natural subject / verb sequence of a statement...

John is here - statement
Is John here? - neutral question

But when the question includes negation...

Isn't John here? - "loaded" question

...this normally implies that the questioner expects / expected the underlying (positive) statement to be true. Including an adverbial element (such as yet, already) is irrelevant to this general principle.

Sometimes the negation might indicate surprise or annoyance - because the speaker already has reason to suspect that John isn't present, and seeks confirmation of this.

Other times it might be a "rhetorical" question - speaker suspects (or knows perfectly well) that John is present, and the expected answer is Yes...

Jack, will you please take out the garbage?
Isn't John here? - Jack knows/thinks John is present, and it's usually John's job to take it out


Has he come yet? - This is a simple question asking for straightforward information.

- Has he come yet? - Yes, he arrived 10 minutes ago.

Hasn't he come yet? - This can indicate frustration or impatience on the part of the speaker, or at least emphasize an expectation that the person should have come already.

Where's Peter?

I haven't seen him.

Hasn't he come yet?

Not yet. I presume he has been delayed.

Well, we'll have to start the meeting without him.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy