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.