The three picked up their chopsticks and started on the food. The scene seemed strangely normal to Naomi. It was as if everything were OK, and her mom were perfectly healthy. In fact, she looked more lively and energetic than Naomi remembered. The whole illness issue seemed like a distant, bad dream. Something that belonged to another reality.

Still, Naomi couldn't take the thought out of her head, so she decided to ask.

If I changed still for yet, would the sentence mean the same thing?

  • “Naomi couldn’t take the thought out of her head” does not sound right to me. I understand what you mean, except I don’t know what thought you’re referring to, but I would at the very least change ‘take’ to ‘get’—or even better use ‘shake’: “Still, Naomi couldn’t shake [whatever thought it is], so she decided to ask”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 26 '13 at 8:53

No. What first comes to my mind is that, even though they are very similar, yet connotes contradiction, whereas still carries the notion of defiance.

Let me view it from a different aspect.

Yet entails an element of surprise by the contrasting circumstances. Yet is like saying to your chum: "So, yeah, that's all nice and good... but check this out."

Still is more in the vein of: "So, yeah, that's that... but never you mind that."

It's a tiny difference, but it's a difference in the level of deductive capabilities that you, as the author, expect your audience to have. If they sense you consider them not capable enough of figuring out things without your solicitious guidance, and that you therefore opt for "yet" (... —Oh, yeah? What could it be?) instead of "still" (... —Yeah, yeah, go on, I follow you.), they might turn their backs on you. And stop reading your story.

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  • So yet is a better option for the example above? – janoChen Sep 26 '13 at 6:12
  • I'm not able to answer that. I don't know the prior context of this. You have to put yourself in the mind of your readers. But, no, I'd be much more likely to go with 'still'. – Talia Ford Sep 26 '13 at 6:29

In this context, still means ‘nevertheless, all the same’. Yet can have a similar meaning, but not when used in this way. Still can stand on its own at the beginning of a sentence and affect its interpretation, but yet cannot.

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  • If I understood you correctly, you are proscribing starting a sentence with yet?If so, then that's a problem similar to ending a sentence with a preposition.Look how tall of a deck is stacked against your stance: 1 2 3 4. 1st google results for can start sentence with yet – Talia Ford Sep 26 '13 at 13:11
  • OK, this one seems to be on your side: grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/conjunctions.htm – Talia Ford Sep 26 '13 at 13:12
  • No, I'm not saying that at all, only that you can't use it as a sentence adverb in the way that you can use still as a sentence adverb. – Barrie England Sep 26 '13 at 16:10

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