I knew that:

  • yet should be used in negative sentences and questions.
  • still should be used in affirmative sentences.
  • We can use yet in affirmative sentences containing this pattern:have yet to

However, I was reading a passage and came across with this sentence:

So much sentimentality is attached to the rose in popular culture that it is difficult to separate the original mythological and folkloric beliefs from the emotional excess that surrounds the flower. Yet if we look into the beliefs, we find that the rose is much more than the mere symbol of romantic love invoked by every minor poet and painter.

the author continues to enumerate several different meanings or 
connotations of the "rose" in different cultures. 
  1. Is it grammatical to use "yet" or we should use "still"?

  2. What would be the difference if one put "still" there?

  • Yet can mean nevertheless here, but we don't know the context. – V.V. Aug 4 '16 at 8:54
  • @V.V. I thought it is clear enough, I'm going to add more context. – Cardinal Aug 4 '16 at 9:17
  • 1
    Don't let vagaries of punctuation get in the way of your grammatical understanding. The following are the same in that yet links two clauses that stand independently. The ogre is a voracious monster yet he eats only parsnips. The ogre is a voracious monster. Yet he eats only parsnips. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 4 '16 at 21:22
  • @TRomano Thanks, but google search shows that ogres are not vegetarian ^_^ – Cardinal Aug 4 '16 at 21:46

Yet can be used as an adverb as well as a co-ordinating conjunction. Here it is a conjunction.

As a conjunction yet is similar in meaning to but. But is a co-ordinating conjunction used to contrast two statements.

He tried to book a holiday on Bali, but he didn’t have enough money to pay for it.

We use yet as the preferred alternative to but when we want to emphasise that contrast to achieve a stronger effect:

She can play the piano very well, yet she can’t read music at all.

You can put and in front of yet when it is used in this way or use even so as an alternative to yet or and yet:

She can play the piano very well, and yet she can’t read music at all.

However and nevertheless are sometimes used as more formal alternatives to yet:

He had not slept for three nights. Nevertheless, he insisted on going into work the following day.

In colloquial spoken English but still or still are used as less formal alternatives to yet:

It rained every day. Still, they managed to enjoy themselves.

He can be very annoying at times, but we still love him.

  • I think it is obvious that "yet" is not a conjunction on that sentence. It came after a dot (period)-- after a finished sentence. – Cardinal Aug 4 '16 at 10:50
  • 1
    It is not ideal form, but conjunctions are often used that way. You will find many sentences starting with the word "And", for example. This form of usage for conjunctions may be due to attempts to use written language that is close to spoken English. Often someone will think of something new only after they finish a sentence and use a conjunction to link the two in this way. – Mark Ripley Aug 4 '16 at 10:57
  • @MarkRipley I think "Nevertheless, ...", "However, ...", "Also, ...." are adverbs. Also, I think it is not correct to start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction (I have never seen that). Since when "for example" has become a coordinating conjunction? – Cardinal Aug 4 '16 at 11:07
  • However, nevertheless, yet, still, etc. are used as discourse markers. A discourse marker usually comes at the beginning of the clause. They emphasize that the second point contracts with the first. – V.V. Aug 4 '16 at 11:51

In the example you provide, 'yet' has the meaning of 'nevertheless', as commented by V.V. The 'Yet' is used as a way of contrasting the two parts of the statement; the author says in the first part that it is difficult to determine original beliefs about the rose, but in the second part of his statement he tries to do just that.

'Still' could be used in place of 'yet', and would have almost the same meaning, but if 'still' were used instead it wouldn't imply as great a contrast in meaning between the the two parts of the statement.

  • I do not see any contrast--- we find that the rose is much more than the mere symbol ... – Cardinal Aug 4 '16 at 10:48
  • The contrast is between the first part of the statement "it is difficult to separate the original beliefs..." and the second part where the author attempts to do so: "we find that the rose is..." – Mark Ripley Aug 4 '16 at 10:55

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