Continuing this week with another post in the confusing pairs series, today we’re going to look at 2 little words that can have 10 English meanings. Their usage overlaps in some cases, so it’s very easy to mix the two up.
Si vous n’avez pas encore deviné les 2 mots (If you haven’t already guessed the 2 words), allow me to tell you: I’m referring to the adverbs encore and toujours. These 2 words can mean again, always, another, anyhow, anyway, at least, even, more, still, and yet in English. We’re going to look at each word individually and then together to see which one to use when their meanings overlap.
Encore in English can be translated as again even, another, and more (also yet and still – but those are below in their own section).
Joseph a encore séché les cours !
Joseph skipped class again!
Le chocolat était trop bon. J’en veux encore !
The chocolate was so good. I want more.
(can also mean ‘another’ if the noun is countable)
Elle est encore plus belle que ce que je pensais.
She’s even prettier than I thought!
Toujours in English can be translated as always and anyhow, anyway, and at least (also yet and still – but those are below in their own section).
Karine est toujours occupée.
Karine is always busy.
C’est cher, mais ça sera toujours utile.
It’s expensive, but it’ll be useful, anyway.
Encore vs. Toujours
And now the fun part. I mean, if you like grammar, anyway. But this isn’t bad! Encore and toujours can both mean yet and still, but one or the other may be used depending on the environment. Let’s take a look.
This word can be translated as toujours and encore, though toujours is more accurate.
Je suis toujours au bureau.
I’m still at the office.
Je suis encore au bureau.
I’m still at the office. * BUT ALSO I’m at the office again.
*This helps to explain why toujours is a bit more accurate.
Let’s take a closer look at how using encore instead of toujours can imply slightly different things. Let’s look at the very simple sentence “Il pleut” with one of the adverbs thrown in there.
Il pleut encore can mean it rained but it stopped before raining again.
Il pleut toujours can mean it’s still raining (meaning it hasn’t stopped)
Use encore if you’re modifying an adjective (quoi??? a word used to describe or qualify a person, place, thing, or idea).
Il est encore plus grand que ma taille.
He’s still taller than I am.
If you’re using “yet” in a negative context but it’s still interchangeable with “still,” you’ll want to use toujours pas or pas encore (note that toujours is before the pas!). If you want to use “yet” in a positive sense (as in: Have you tried this cocktail yet?), you’ll want to use déjà.
Attends ! Je ne suis pas encore prête !
Attends ! Je ne suis toujours pas prête !
Wait! I’m not ready yet!