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A2 Level. Spanish “Ya” and “Todavía” – Meaning and Use of these Words

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Spanish “Ya” and “Todavía” – Meaning and Use of these Words

Spanish Adverbs “Ya” and “Todavía” are usually taught together in Spanish courses.

They have different meanings, but both of them have to do with time, and they are placed in basically the same spots within the sentence. In this lesson we will learn everything about Spanish “Ya” and “Todavía”. ¿Estás listo?

1. Meaning of Spanish “ya” and “todavía”

Before we look at the uses of ya and todavía in Spanish, let’s look at why we might need them. Firstly, these two Spanish words could be translated into English as follows:

Ya vs todavía → still, already, yet, not yet, now, no longer, not anymore, by now.

As you can see there are a lot of ways to translate these two Spanish words, this is why they can be tricky. For now, think about what these words do to an English sentence, so you can understand how they affect Spanish sentences.

For example, what is the difference between:

Both “ya” and “todavía” have different meanings when followed and when not followed by the negative particle “no”.

In the case of “ya”:

Use of “ya” in affirmative An action happened and was completed in the past, or it is a fact in the present or end of an action that was taking place or used to be true.

ya = already

Spanish “Ya” and “Todavía” – Meaning and Use of these Words

ya no = no longer, not anymore

When we use it in a negative sentence it means “not yet”

Spanish “Ya” and “Todavía” – Meaning and Use of these Words

In the case of “todavía”:

Use of “Todavía” in affirmative The action began in the past and continues in the present or

todavía = still

Spanish “Ya” and “Todavía” – Meaning and Use of these Words

Use of “Todavía” in negative sentence

todavía no = not yet (still not)

The action has not been completed yet.

Spanish “Ya” and “Todavía” – Meaning and Use of these Words

2. Placement of “ya” and “todavía”

Although the placement of these words is pretty flexible, the safest place to place “ya” and “todavía” in the sentence is before the verb.

But be careful! If that verb is preceded by a Direct Object, Indirect Object or Reflexive Pronoun (such as “me”, “te”, “nos”, “se”… etc), we need to place “ya” and “todavía” before those pronouns.

- ¿Ya has comprado las entradas?

Did you already buy the tickets?

- Sí, ya las he comprado.

Yes, I already bought them.

- María, ¿ya terminaste tu tarea?

María, have you finished your homework?

- No mamá, todavía no termino

No mom, I haven’t finished yet.

- ¿El señor López vive aquí?

Does Mr. López live here?

- No, ya no vive aquí, ahora vive en la ciudad.

No, he doesn’t live here anymore, he lives in the city now.

Remember that to use grammar correctly the most important thing is to practice a lot with the forms you learn.Below you have an activity to continue practicing with not yet and now.If you want to learn grammar with the help of a native teacher, the best is an online Spanish course to learn intensively and with many examples and exercises that will help you.


Let's practice

Quiz activity No 1: Completa las oraciones con “ya” o “todavía”:

  1. ¿________ has leído el libro? No, ________ no he comenzado a leerlo, pero seguramente para el martes ________ lo habré terminado. ¿De qué se trata?

  2. Es sobre la vida de los aztecas cuando los españoles ________ no habían llegado a América. Es ________ más interesante que el texto de la semana pasada. ________he leído más de la mitad, pero es bastante largo y ________ no tenemos mucho tiempo.

  3. Bueno, pero ________ nos quedan tres días antes de la clase. Como ________ estoy preparada para las otras clases, creo que ________ puedo terminarlo a tiempo.

  4. Sí, pero, si hubieras empezado la semana pasada, ________ no tendrías que preocuparte.

Audiovisual comprehension to practice oral and written expression. No. 2: "Sola en casa".

This resource includes a comprehension activity in Spanish for students to complete after  watching  the video, as well as an activity to reinforce the uses of “Ya” and “Todavía related with housework activities. We hope you find it very useful.

Available in our store. Remember you can contact your tutor with any question have. Don’t you have a Spanish tutor yet? Please, leave a message if you want we prepare more activities about this topic. Thanks for helping us to improve.

Spanish “Ya” and “Todavía” – Meaning and Use of these Words


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¡Hasta la vista!

Español Latino Team.

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