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I've been thinking of how 'yet' in the affirmative statement works. I think [1] through [3] work but I'm not sure about [4].

[1] A: We've got to hurry!

B: Calm down. It's early yet.

[2] A: Is he coming back soon? Has he finished his job in Beijing?

B: No, he has two years yet.

[3] We have a long time yet. We can go to the gym.

[4] We are thirty minutes into the work yet. But I'm already tired.

  • Interestingly, although there are dictionary definitions and examples of 'yet' being used in affirmative statements, they are different from your examples, most of which sound off to my (non-native) ear. I can't say why... I hope your question will attract native English speaker's attention :-). – Lucky Jun 7 '15 at 10:02
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Yet is generally used in questions and negative sentences. It does not work in the affirmative sentences which you have posted above. In formal style, yet can be used in affirmative sentences like so:

  • We have yet to find out what has happened to him.
  • I have yet to speak to the manager about my possible promotion.

You can find more information about te difference between still, already and yet in the Cambridge Online Dictionary.

In your sentences, you should use still or already. Already is used for things that have finished and still is used for things that are still going on at the moment of speaking.

Your sentences would be correct like so:

[ 1] A: We've got to hurry!

B: Calm down. It's still early.

[2] A: Is he coming back soon? Has he finished his job in Beijing?

B: No, he still has two years.

[3] We have a long time still. We can go to the gym.

[4] We are only thirty minutes into the work. But I'm already tired.

In your last sentence, I wouldn't use still or already, but I would use only to contrast the already in the second sentence.

  • The 3rd one would perhaps work if you say (a lot of) time instead of a long time similar to the example in the link you provided: There’s plenty of time yet. (even though you don’t think so) from CDO English grammar today. Something like this: We have a lot of time yet. We can go to the gym or We yet have a lot of time or simply We have time yet. We can go to the gym (although that would alter the meaning slightly towards: We yet have time to go to the gym) – Lucky Jun 7 '15 at 10:20
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We are thirty minutes into the work yet. But I'm already tired.

strikes my American ear as definitely "off".

We have a long time yet. We can go to the gym.

makes me stumble just a little.

Calm down. It's early yet.

No, he has two years yet.

are absolutely idiomatic in my dialect.

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