Encore vs Toujours

Encore vs toujours
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What’s the difference between encore and toujours? They’re both adverbs of frequency with similar but not interchangeable meanings – at least most of the time. This lesson will tell you everything you need to know about how to distinguish between encore and toujours.

Both of these French adverbs have distinct meanings which are covered in the detailed encore and toujours lesson. But they also have meanings that are similar enough to cause confusion.

1) Still

When talking about something that still exists or is still happening, toujours is the better option.

Par exemple…

Il est toujours en France.   He’s still in France.
Je travaille toujours comme au pair.   I’m still working as an au pair.
Le verre est toujours plein.   The glass is still full.

Encore can be used here, but it’s ambiguous:

Il est encore en France.   He’s still in France.
He’s in France again.
Je travaille encore comme au pair.   I’m still working as an au pair.
I’m working as an au pair again.
Le verre est encore plein.   The glass is still full.
The glass is full again.

When "still" is used with a comparative (and synonymous with "even"), encore is the right word (see encore lesson).

  The other adverbial meaning of “still” as in “nevertheless” is neither of the above; the best translation is néanmoins.

Néanmoins, il faut admettre que c’est une possibilité intéressante.   Still, you have to admit that it’s an interesting possibility.

2) (Not) Yet

"Not yet" is best translated by the negative adverb pas encore.

Je n’ai pas encore faim.   I’m not hungry yet.
Elles ne sont pas encore parties.   They haven’t left yet.

You can use toujours pas, but the nuance is slightly different: "still not."

Je n’ai toujours pas faim.   I’m still not hungry.
Elles ne sont toujours pas parties.   They still haven’t left.

 Pay attention to word order here:

  • pas encore – not yet
  • toujours pas – still not
  • pas toujours – not always (see toujours lesson)

 When "yet" is affirmative and means “already,” it’s equivalent to déja:

Est-ce qu’elles sont déjà parties ?   Have they left yet?
Have they already left?
Oui, elles sont déjà parties.   Yes, they’ve already left.

 Remember: encore and toujours both have additional meanings that don’t overlap; see these detailed lessons for more info:

En résumé …

A brief overview of the different meanings covered in these three pages:

Meaning French Synonym Antonym
again encore à nouveau  
always toujours jamais
another encore un autre  
anyway toujours  
even (more / less) encore même  
more encore de autres, plus de  
still (ongoing) toujours   ne … plus
not yet pas encore   déjà

 Related lessons

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Toujours vs encore

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