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And the best is yet to come.

In the above sentence, to be to means "will", yet means "already". So, does the sentence mean the best has already come or that it will come?

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Do you mean "'to be' means 'will'" in this sentence? If so, I don't agree. The sentence is saying "the best has not come now or before now". It implies, then, that the best will come in the future, but the tense and understood meaning of the verb is definitely the present. –  Kosmonaut Jan 1 '11 at 16:33
    
@Kosmonaut: He means "to be to (verb)" refers to the future, which is correct. Usually a simple statement such as "I am to accompany you" implies a formal future obligation. –  Jon Purdy Jan 1 '11 at 22:23
    
@Jon Purdy: It implies a future obligation, but that doesn't mean future tense is actually embedded into the verb. You can also say "I am supposed to accompany you" which also implies a future obligation. That alone doesn't mean the actual tense of the verb is future. There are cases where the future tense is directly expressed with a present tense, for example, "I am coming with you tomorrow". I think this example is a future tense, but is different from the examples we are discussing. I know it is a nitpicky point, but that is all I was trying to say. –  Kosmonaut Jan 1 '11 at 23:54
    
i think 'refers to the future' = 'future tense', is it right? –  lovespring Jan 2 '11 at 1:17
    
Basically, yes. –  Jon Purdy Jan 2 '11 at 7:51
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

"Yet" means "up to and including now", even when it's used with "to be to [verb]". So the best has been coming for a while, and it continues to come, but has not arrived yet.

The best is yet to come. (= The best has not come, but it will.)

Another construction with the same meaning is "to have yet to [verb]":

I have yet to read the book you lent me. (= I have not read it yet.)

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Another way of saying this is "you ain't seen nothing yet". –  Antony Quinn Jan 1 '11 at 19:24
    
so, 'the best is yet to come = the best is to come' ? –  lovespring Jan 2 '11 at 1:15
    
@lovespring: Right, but "the best is yet to come" implies you don't know when the best will come, or aren't being specific about it. This is an idiomatic phrase. Saying "the best is to come" leaves people waiting for you to say when, for example: "the most fun is to be had around the end of the festival". –  Jon Purdy Jan 2 '11 at 7:56
    
i learn a lot from you, thank u. –  lovespring Jan 2 '11 at 8:21
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