YA vs TODAVÍA vs AÚN: When to use which and what’s the difference?

YA vs TODAVIA vs AUN: When to use which? What's the Difference in Spanish?

Espero que ya sepas cómo usar ya, aún y todavía. ¿Qué? ¿Todavía no lo sabes? ¡Pues no te preocupes porque aún estás a tiempo de hacerlo! (I hope you already know how to use ya, aún and todavía. What? You still don’t know? Well don’t worry because you still have time to do it!) 

I’m Juan from Spring Spanish and in this video I’ll teach you how to use ya, aún y todavía. ¡Acompáñame!

1. Cómo usar ‘Ya’ (How to use “Ya”)

The word ‘ya’ in Spanish is an adverb that indicates that something is done in a given past time. Think of it as an equivalent to the English word “already” in most of the cases. Let’s see some examples:

ACTOR 1
¿Quieres más arroz?
(Do you want more rice?)

ACTOR 2
No. Ya me serví, gracias.
(No. I already helped myself, thank you.)

ACTOR 1
Quedó más carne. ¿Te sirvo más?
(There’s still meat left. Should I serve you more?)

ACTOR 2
(molesto) NO, te dije que ya estoy bien.
(NO, I already told you I’m fine already.)

ACTOR 1
¿Quieres postre?
(Do you want dessert?)

ACTOR 2
TE VUELVO A REPETIR QUE YA ESTOY… ah, ¿es que hay quesillo?
(I REPEAT THAT I’M ALREADY… oh, there’s quesillo?)

Por otro lado (on a side note): the negative form of ya es Ya no, and it’s used to state that something is not valid anymore or it doesn’t exist anymore. Examples:

ACTOR 1
¿Quieres un cigarrillo?
(Do you want a cigarette?)

ACTOR 2
No gracias. Ya no estoy fumando.
(No, thanks. I don’t smoke anymore.)

ACTOR 1
¿Y una cerveza? Están bien frías.
(What about a beer? They’re very cold.)

ACTOR 2
La cosa es que ya no bebo.
(Thing is I don’t drink anymore.)

ACTOR 1
Bueno, está bien. Hay postre también, si quieres.
(Well, okay then. There’s dessert too if you want.)

ACTOR 2
Ya no como dulce, graci… espera, ¿eso es quesillo?
(I don’t eat sweets anymore, thank… wait, is that quesillo?)

Pregunta: ¿YA te subscribiste a nuestro canal? (Question: Did you already subscribe to our channel?) 

I recommend you do it because we have many other Spanish hacks and useful tips for you to learn besides the difference between todavía, ya y aún. Mientras que estás en eso, por qué no le das like a este video? (While you’re at it, why don’t you like this video?)

2. Cómo usar todavía (How to use “todavía”)

The word Todavía is used to express continuity of an action or event. Or the lack of it if you use todavía no, which also could mean that an action is incomplete. Think of it as a rough version of the English words still or yet. 

ACTOR 1
Ché, ¿vamos a ver el partido? 
(Dude, are we going to watch the game?)

ACTOR 2
No creo. Todavía estoy estudiando. ¿Ya empezó?
(I don’t think so, I’m still studying. Did it start yet?)

ACTOR 1
No, todavía no, pero ya empezaron a transmitir los preliminares.
(No, not yet, but the preliminaries already started.)

Of course, it’s good for your Spanish to learn some of these rules. But the real way to get an edge on your Español and start speaking like a native is through chunking! 

Si revisas el link en la descripción (if you check the link on the description), you’ll get access to our free Spanish chunking kit with a lot of chunks to your disposal to start speaking about several different topics in Spanish like a native speaker! ¡No te lo pierdas! (Don’t miss out on it!) 

3. ¿Cuándo usar aún?

Bueno, te tengo una buena y una mala noticia (Well, I have good and bad news for you). What’s that? You want to hear the good news first? Okay then: “aún” con acento se puede usar idénticamente a todavía. In fact, I can go to the previous conversation and do that exactly:

ACTOR 1
Ché, ¿vamos a ver el partido? 
(Dude, are we going to watch the game?)

ACTOR 2
No creo. Aún estoy estudiando. ¿Ya empezó?
(I don’t think so, I’m still studying. Did it start yet?)

ACTOR 1
No, aún no, pero ya empezaron a transmitir los preliminares.
(No, not yet, but the preliminaries already started.)

BOOM.

Okay, ahora la mala noticia (now the bad news): if you don’t use the accent and say aun, this is a word similar to the English word “even”. So it works like this:

  • Aun cuando le dije “por favor” se rehusó a responderme. (Even when I said “please” he refused to answer.)
  • ¡Ni aún estando lleno rechazaría un quesillo! (Not even full I’d refuse some quesillo!)
  • Aún con un pie lastimado, ganó la carrera. (Even with a hurt foot, she won the race.)

Summary

How to use “ya”?

When expressing that something has been finished or it’s been done in a given past time: Ya me subscribí al canal, ya le di like a tu video y ya compartí (I already subscribed to the channel, I already liked your video and I already shared).

How to use “todavía”?

When expressing continuity of an action or a passive trait: Todavía estoy estudiando (I’m still studying) or todavía estás muy joven para tomar alcohol (you’re still too young to drink alcohol).

How to use “aún”?

Aún can be used as a replacement for “todavía” in any case, and it follows the same rules: Aún estoy estudiando or aún estás muy joven para tomar alcohol.

Another confusing pair of words in Spanish is también and tampoco which mean something along the lines of “too” and “either”. So let’s look at these now to see when to use which. Follow me to the next part of this lesson by clicking on the image on screen. 

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