The use of yet and already can be quite confusing to ESL students. For example: If I want to ask someone if he has already started studying for the test, how should I say?
1) Are you studying yet?
2) Are you already studying?
I believe these two sentences are very different, and I also think the second one is not correct. Could you help me with it?
If you want to simply ask if the person has started to study before this point in time, then either form can work, although there can be subtly different implications in some contexts.
However, "Are you already studying?", or "Are you studying already?" can have a quite different meaning if the emphasis is put on "already". This expresses surprise that the person has started studying so early, or earlier than expected.
Thanks for the reply. I see your point.
So if I just want to know if the person has started studying I can say Are you already studying? And if I'm surpised that the person started studying earlier than expected, then I say Are you studying already?
I've read this difference somewhere, but what intrigues me is that the grammar I have (Oxford) says that we shouldn't use already in questions, but yet. So that confused me.
When spoken, "Are you studying already?" can mean:
"Have you started studying?"
"How surprising that you have started studying!".
The difference is in the emphasis and tone of voice.
Perhaps the Oxford's advice is in order to avoid this ambiguity in the written form.
A teacher may be able to help further.