..he could have dwelt for a long time yet/still in that soft, well-upholstered hell, if this had not happened, this moment of complete hopelessness and despair and the tense moment when he had bent over the flowing water, ready to commit suicide.

Using yet there is a dated/literary alternative to what would normally be expressed as "he could still have dwelt for a long time in that soft, well-upholstered hell". As @200_success comments, it's a bad example for English learners.

That's not to imply yet should be avoided in general. Where it means [from some time in the past] up until now, it's perfectly normal ("I haven't finished writing this answer yet"). It's just not such a good choice these days where it references [some time in the future] after now, such as "I could yet/still finish soon". 1

1 Noting archaic/literary usages such as "I met him many years ago, when he was yet a young man", that should perhaps be "narrative reference time", rather than "now".

Many competent native speakers (and more particularly, writers) still use yet to reference a future time, so for them it's not really appropriate to say still is "better". But for learners I think it's probably easier (and "safer") to avoid yet in any context where either still or but would also be valid



The bold parts are the one that I have written, and I think the bold parts are the choices which you have advised me to write them,.

Other than that, I am wondering what the italic parts mean.

  • 1
    Wondering about statements about uses is not a good way to ask a specific question on this site. Your questions are vague. Which might also indicate why only one person attempted to answer this post. I'll provide a link to an earlier question that may answer whatever it is you are asking. See also this question and this one.
    – user6951
    Dec 31, 2014 at 23:30
  • Related: ell.stackexchange.com/q/935/9161
    – ColleenV
    May 31, 2019 at 12:48

2 Answers 2


"Still" as an adverb means you were something, and are continuing to be something.

I am still here.

He still wasn't going to give it to me.

It can also mean "not moving", as an adjective or noun modifier.

She held me still.

I was in the water, still as a rock.

"Yet" means the subject was not something in the past, but is something now (or at a specified time)

Commonly it is used in the negative with "not." - not yet X meaning

  • you aren't X at a given time, and are supposed to be X at the given time
  • but since the the word "not" is there - this isn't not true.

I have not done it yet.

It's not ready yet.

At 3:00 he told me it wasn't finished yet.

Can you substitute still here? Sure. Using it at the end of a sentence is a bit awkward, so it would be:

I still have not done it.

It's still not ready.

At 3:00 he told me it still wasn't ready.

You can use still affirmatively:

I am still doing it

But not really yet, not in modern usage AFAIK:

I am yet doing it

To me, this makes me feel like I'm missing an implied "not" - other dialects/regions may vary. This is the archaic use of yet which is not in common use anymore, at least in my region in the US.

Yet can also be used this way:

He was talking slowly. Yet, I couldn't understand him.

Notice the "not" is there as part of "couldn't" - though using yet this way it's more possible it could be used affirmatively.

She was handing out free candy. I had enough. Yet, I took one.

Still works in both instances, too.

He was talking slowly. Still, I couldn't understand him.

She was handing out free candy. I had enough. Still, I took one.

So when in doubt, use still.

  • Thanks. And, what about mu original question?
    – nima
    Dec 2, 2014 at 3:53

English is a very poetic language. Many times we use words that mean almost the same thing for emphasis, or because they sound good, or they rhyme.

"Yet and still" in sentences like this confer emphasis, not detail, and you will find, especially in our spoken language, many instances of this type of construction.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .