Ya VS Todavía

Learn the differences between “ya”, “ya no”, “todavía” and “todavía no” and how to use them correctly


When should you use “ya” and “todavía”? This difference may be challenging, especially because the literal translation does not always work to know when to use them in a sentence. As similar as they can be, learning the difference between these two words is crucial for having fluent conversations in daily-life spanish.


First thing you need to know is that these two words are adverbs of time, in this case, they are used to talk about an action that has importance in two times, to compare the past and the present.


Sounds a little bit confusing? Do not worry! Here at iAmigo School you  are going to learn how and when to use “ya”, “tadovía” and its negative forms “ya no” “tadovía no” so you do not make mistakes while speaking spanish. Let’s start!

  • YA

Usually, the word “ya” indicates that something has been done in the past, and, as you can imagine, the equivalent in english is “already”. Here, look at some examples with this use:


  • Ya terminé mi tarea (I already finished my homework.)
  • Ya he trabajado ocho horas hoy (I have already worked 8 hours today)
  • Ella ya comió dulces hoy, no le des más (She already ate candies today, don’t give her more)
  • Nosotros ya fuimos a París (We already went to Paris)
  • Ellos ya tocaron esta canción (They already played this song)


Tip: As you can see, in this case “ya” is followed by a verb (ex. comer) conjugated either in simple past (pretérito perfecto, ex. comí) or compound past (pasado compuesto, ex. he comido).This way you can identify it. 


 Sometimes, “ya” is used for indicating something happening in that moment, in the present. In this case, the literal translation is “now”. Let’s take a look at this examples: 


  • ¡Quiero mi comida ya! (I want my food now!)
  • Ya salió el nuevo videojuego. (The new video game is out now)
  • Debes venir ya a la casa. (You must come to the house now)
  • ¡Ya detente! (Stop now!)


Tip: This use is more common in imperative sentences. 


Other times, this adverb is used to talk about a possible or expected future. In this case, it is followed by a verb conjugated in future, usually indicating someone´s desire or wish. Examples:

  • Ya conocerás a tu príncipe azul. (You will meet your prince charming)
  • Ya te llamarán de ese trabajo.(You will be called from that job)
  • Ya serás el mejor de la clase. (You will be the best of your class)
  • Ya habrá tiempo para jugar. (There will be time to play)
  • Ya conoceremos Europa algún día.. (We will meet Europe some day).


Tip: As you can see, in this case “ya” is at the beginning of the sentences.

  • YA NO

“Ya no” is an expression used when one action used to be done but is not done anymore. In english, it would be something like “not anymore” because it refers to an action or something that isn’t valid anymore. For example:

  • Ya no te amo (I dont love you anymore)
  • A Joaquín ya no le gusta tocar el piano (Joaquín doesn’t like to play the piano anymore).
  • Nosotros ya no te creemos nada (We dont believe you anymore)
  • Desde que tienen hijos, Pedro y Ana ya no salen fiestas (Since they have children, Pedro y Ana don’t go to parties)
  • Mi perro ya no muerde mis muebles (My dog doesn’t bite my furniture anymore)


On the other hand, “tadovía” is used when the past continues in the present, it means there haven’t been any changes. In english, the most accurate translation would be “still”.  Here, check some examples:

  • Ellos todavía están casados (They are still married)
  • Juana todavía está en el trabajo (Juana is still at work)
  • Nosotros todavía queremos comer (We still want to eat)
  • ¿Ustedes todavía quieren salir a caminar? (Do you still want to go out for a walk?)


Similar to “ya”, “todavía” has another use or meaning when used with a “no”. In this case, it can be used as “yet”, or to refer to something that will happen in the future but hasn’t been done. Here are some examples:


  • No, todavía no he almorzado. (No, I haven’t had lunch yet.)
  • Todavía no le he dicho que la amo (I haven’t told her that I love her yet).
  • Todavía no ha viajado a Latinoamérica (She/he hasn’t traveled to Latinamerica yet)
  • Andrés y María todavía no tienen hijos (Andrés y María do not have children yet)


Another way of using “todavía no” is when you want to say “still no”, which means something remains negative. Examples:

  • ¿Ya compraste un carro? No, todavía no tengo carro (Did you buy a car? No, I still don’t have a car)
  • ¿Todavía no has terminado tu tarea? (Still haven’t finished your homework?)
  • Todavía no quiero salir con él. 


That is a lot of information, isn’t it? Let’s summarize it: 


Word + Example Meaning

Example: “Ya sabe escribir”

Antes no, ahora sí —- Not before, yes now

Meaning: “Antes no sabía escribir, ahora sí sabe” —“He didn’t know how to write before, now he knows”

Ya no

“Ya no me gusta la pizza”

Antes sí, ahora no —- Yes before, not now

Meaning: “Antes sí me gustaba la pizza, ahora no” —-“He liked it before, he doesn’t like it now”


“Todavía nos amamos”

Antes sí, ahora sí —– Yes before, yes now

“Nos amábamos antes, nos amamos ahora”—- “We loved each other before, we love each other now”

Todavía no

“Todavía no cenamos”

Antes no, ahora no —- Not before, not now

“Antes no cenamos, ahora no cenamos” —–“ We didn’t have dinner before, we are not having dinner now”


Uses in daily life: 


Now, let’s take a look at this conversation: 


María: ¡Hola, Lorena! Hace muchos años no nos vemos.

Lorena: ¡Hola, María! Es cierto ¿Cómo estás?

María: ¡Muy bien! ¿Cómo vas en la Universidad?

Lorena: Ya terminé la Universidad. Me gradúo en Abril.

María: ¡Genial! Me alegra mucho ¿Todavía vives con tus padres?

Lorena: No, ya no. Me mudé, ahora vivo sola ¿Y tú?

María: Yo todavía no me he mudado, vivo con mi familia.


As you can see in this conversation, you can use these words to see what is happening in a friend’s life after a long period of time without seeing them, or asking about updates about a situation.

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