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Can ‘of yet’ be used with the same meaning of ‘as of yet’? For example:

Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs that we haven’t found bones of yet.

Does this mean the same thing as the following?

Most importantly, he's found footprints of dinosaurs that we haven't found bones as of yet?

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Please show your research, or this question is likely to be closed as off-topic proofreading. –  tchrist Nov 12 '12 at 3:04
    
Found bones of is slightly "off" (it might benefit by having the or any before bones, I don't know), but the same construction occurs in "we haven't heard of yet", for example. There's nothing inherently wrong with putting yet right at the end, but I think many people would prefer it to go before found. –  FumbleFingers Nov 12 '12 at 4:34
    
This is a case of misconstruing the construction of the sentence. There's no idiom here. The sentence literally means what it is. It's bones of dinosaurs, not '(as) of yet'. –  Kris Nov 12 '12 at 4:52

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The second of doesn't belong to yet but to dinosaurs. He has found dinosaur footprints, but we haven't found bones of those dinosaurs yet. Keeping closer to the given structure, but expressing it formally, you would say:

He's found footprints of dinosaurs of which we have not yet found bones.

So of yet is meaningless. And as as of yet is prolix and graceless, so avoid both and just say yet as tchrist tells you.

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The sentence is problematic because of the syntax. A reasonable rewrite that retains the superfluous yet would be:

Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs that we haven’t yet found bones of.

A more formal and less verbose rendition of this sentence is:

Most important [1], he has found footprints of dinosaurs for which we have not found bones.

[EDIT: But this is too formal and clunky.]

Most important, he's found footprints of dinosaurs for which we haven't found bones.

As of yet is never any good. It's even more verbose.

You can use yet in a brief response to a question such as:

Have you finished your homework?
Not yet.

Then it's perfectly normal English.

[1]: Sorry, I don't like the /-ly/ form here. I think that adjectives shouldn't end in /-ly/ if they don't need to. Words like homely, comely, and unseemly are adjectives that cannot shed their "ly" without becoming a different word, or, in the last case, a non-word. I also dislike firstly, secondly, etc. But this is strictly a personal style preference.

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I think I agree. I'm supposing by because of the syntax you mean the problem is that yet is modifying found bones of. If it had been modifying something structurally simpler (say, identified), there would't be a problem about placing yet either before or after. But I'm not sure exactly how "problematic" OP's version is. It sounds a bit "clunky" to me, but I can't say that makes it completely unacceptable. –  FumbleFingers Nov 12 '12 at 4:27
    
@F: Yes, the syntax is a problem because the modifier is in the wrong place. Change the placement, and it becomes much better. Delete the modifier, and the sentence is even better. Style is a big issue, but even problematic style is not completely unacceptable. I don't think the OP's sentence is completely unacceptable (it's clear enough and easy enough to understand), only that it can be made a little better. –  user21497 Nov 12 '12 at 6:15
    
But it still seems to me if "the modifier is in the wrong place" that's only because of the "dangling" of. In most other contexts, the word "yet" can happily go before or after whatever it modifies. I get the feeling at least part of the reason OP's example is "below par" is that it just doesn't "flow" well - as StoneyB might say, there are problems with the prosody/metre. –  FumbleFingers Nov 12 '12 at 13:58
    
@F: Agreed. Prosody and meter contribute to style, not grammaticality. MW3UDE: "syntax: 1 : connected system or order : orderly arrangement : harmonious adjustment of parts or elements 2 a : sentence structure : the arrangement of word forms to show their mutual relations in the sentence". Word order is a part of syntax. What it should be in a particular sentence depends on the sentence more than on the acceptability of the word's coming before or after whatever it modifies. How the sentence reads & what it sounds like in the reader's head are important -- to me, anyway. –  user21497 Nov 12 '12 at 14:29

I almost want to say that “of yet” is not valid English. It certainly isn’t for me. And “as of yet” is more understandable, but still lame. Just say “yet” and be done with it.

Try one of these:

  • Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs that we haven’t yet found the bones of.
  • Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs that we haven’t found bones for.
  • Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs that we have no bones for.
  • Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs we have no bones for.
  • Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs whose bones we haven’t yet discovered.
  • Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs whose bones we haven’t uncovered yet.
  • Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs whose bones we haven’t even found yet.
  • Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs whose bones we haven’t found before.
  • Most importantly, he’s found footprints of dinosaurs whose bones have never been seen before.
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Adding before is merely substituting one pleonasm for another. If yet is wrong, so is before. And the style is just as poor. –  user21497 Nov 12 '12 at 3:16
    
@BillFranke You’re right. Hopefully some of the whose variations work better. –  tchrist Nov 12 '12 at 3:16
    
Except for the final one, all the other versions work better. There's only a style difference between your use of "whose" and my formal use of "for which". The second suggestion is the best, IMHO: Not as formal and clunky as my formal sentence, and it's natural spoken English. –  user21497 Nov 12 '12 at 3:21
    
-1 See my comment at OP and the answer by StoneyB. –  Kris Nov 12 '12 at 4:54
    
@Kris Huh? Look at my first replacement sentence, in which I moved the yet next to its verb so it doesn’t gardenpath into the nonsensically misreadable “of yet”. –  tchrist Nov 12 '12 at 16:15

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