Use the word "already" when something has finished. This word is also used to express surprise that something has been completed as the person is speaking:
- Are you already finished with your homework? (This question expresses surprise.)
- They've already eaten their breakfast. (This does not express surprise. It's just a statement of fact, but it could indicate that breakfast would normally be eaten at a later time.)
- Miriam told her son to clean his room, but he had already done it. (The past perfect is often used with "already.")
- By the time we arrived, the movie had already started.
- I looked at my watch and noticed it was already 5:00. (This expresses a surprise.)
- Are you going already? Why don't you stay longer?
You might also hear the use of "already" when someone is irritated or angry with a person or a situation:
- All right already! I'll move my car.
- Would you stop doing that already?
- Okay, enough already. Be quiet!
Don't confuse "already" with "all ready." You can use "all ready" in a way that is similar to "ready" which means to be prepared.
- The students are all ready to take their test.
- All of the students are ready to take their test.
- I'll be all ready to go as soon as I pack my bags.
- Dinner is all ready. Are you ready to eat?
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This page was first published on April 4, 2012. It was amended on January 17, 2015.