A question from Rus->Eng forum: "Bridge was not yet open" - why is "yet" in that position?

Original there:


"The constructions I've encountered in the course were of the "not" + verb + "yet" type, and most often in Perfect. Why is the construction "was not yet open" made like that?

PS Do I get it right that "the" required before "bridge" is skipped due to simplified Twitter English and it is OK there? Source of the text:"

Could an English speaker address that, please?

March 16, 2018


I think the big distinction here might be, as you pointed out that "open" is really acting as an adjective here.

"not... yet" can certainly call for a perfect construction. That differs between English dialects somewhat, I think. American English is probably more willing to admit simple past in combination with "not.... yet" than some other versions might be.

"I have not eaten yet" is perfectly correct. "I have not yet eaten" is also perfectly correct, but here the extra "fanciness" of that word order can more easily seem like overkill. The later sentence seems a bit too formal for normal use. With a more elaborate sentence, or less mundane subject matter the "not yet [participle]" form would likely seem less out of place.

"The architect has not yet completed the designs for the museum" might seem a touch more natural than "The architect has not completed the designs for the museum yet" because at the end of the day the "not" and the "yet" combine to form a single unit of meaning, and they're pretty far apart in the second version.

March 16, 2018

About the "the": I think it can be skipped, as in casual speech, because it's clear that we speak about a specific bridge. "A bridge" would imply that some bridge was not yet open, I don't think it would make any sense to use that.

  • "Bridge was not yet open" - a simple statement that it's not open as for now; in this case, the "was not" is an action;

  • "Bridge was not open, yet: - putting just a bit of emphasis on the fact, that it's not open yet, but may be in the future; in this case, the whole "was not open" phrase gets treated like an action; it requires a bit of a stop before the "yet", but that's usually ommited in casual speech;

  • "The bridge was not open, as of yet" - means basically the same thing as the second (your) sentence, just written in a more proper and formal way;

To sum it up: "yet" (or already/just/still and similar adverbs) can come after the clause in casual style, or after the negation in more formal style: resource

Also, I found this, which may be of help for other adverbs, too.

Good to see another interesting question from you, Peter! :D

March 16, 2018

The "the" absolutely can't be skipped in any sort of normal English. You'd be best served by putting any notion that it might be out of your head. Maybe it could be omitted in texting (emphasis on the "maybe"), but that's not speech.

This isn't normal English. It's headlinese, which has its own, unique grammar rules inapplicable elsewhere. Headlinese is also used for signs and other situations where there are space limitations.

In fact, given the constraints of headlinese, this could have been abbreviated even further:

  • Bridge not yet open
  • Bridge not open yet

I'd view these as interchangeable, just as I would for "The bridge was not yet open" vs. "The bridge was not open yet." Without the "was" the top version sounds a bit better to me, but it's not a matter of correctness; it's a matter of style. With the "was" the stylistic difference is even smaller. "not yet" together as a unit can sound a bit fancier.

Of course one could potentially enunciate the bottom one "not open... yet", which one might well punctuate with a comma. But this wouldn't be all that common.

March 16, 2018

It looks like Headlinese works pretty much like Russian: dropped articles, dropped "be"... ))))

March 16, 2018
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"The bridge was not open" Does one need to use Participle II in this sentence?

March 16, 2018

I guess "open" is an adjective in this instance.

March 16, 2018
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March 16, 2018
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"The bridge itself was not opened yet", the reporter said (video 1:00). Maybe in this case it is a fast typing error.

March 16, 2018

Although there is a missing verb "be" in "Several cars believed to be trapped beneath the bridge," which any English language teacher will mark as a mistake, I am sure that not yet [description] is a valid structure...

March 16, 2018

No, I'm pretty sure he said, "The bridge itself was not open yet."

To use "opened," it would have been "had not opened yet" or "had not been opened yet".

March 16, 2018

When you have the word yet, it implies that at some point it/something will happen. The bridge was not open yet mean that at some point, the bridge is going to open, it just hasn't happened up to that point. If the store opens at 9 am and it is 8:45 you can say the store is not open yet. Hope this helps

March 20, 2018
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