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I'm struggling to see which of the following sentences are grammatically correct ?

She just understood what you haven't understood yet.
She has just understood what you did not understand yet.
She just understood what you have yet to understand.

As we speak, "She" has already understood, but not the other person mentioned. They will eventually. So, I'm not sure which sentence is most appropriate?

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  • 'Just' is an added complication here. 'She just understood the passage' defaults in meaning, at least to many Brits, to 'Understanding the passage came naturally to her' while 'She has just understood the passage' defaults to the temporal sense, 'She has just now understood the passage'. 'Understand' can be punctive (inchoative) as well as durative. // ' ... what you did not understand yet' is set in a past timeframe, ' ... what you did not understand at that time'. This makes your second sentence infelicitous without unusual context. Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 9:00
  • So, it would be better to say 'She has just now understood what you don't understood yet.' ? I can see why it's best to not put 'just' without adding more structure to the sentence, but I'm not sure if I do it well. Thank you for your help !
    – Louisa
    Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 9:12
  • Your latest variant is a strange-sounding (though grammatical) sentence. 'She has just now understood a point that you don't yet understand' or less formally 'She has just now understood something that you haven't got yet' would be my choices. My first-mentioned choice here is itself a little jarring, using understand/ood in the punctive (realise) as well as the durative sense so close together. Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 10:25
  • Oh, ok. It makes more sense to me now ! Thank you for your help, and for your explanations.
    – Louisa
    Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 11:33
  • I don't think "understood" is that great of a choice here, at least in the first part of the sentence, for the reasons above. I vote for: "She just figured out something that you still don't understand."
    – cruthers
    Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 1:28

1 Answer 1

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  1. She just understood what you haven't understood yet.
  2. She has just understood what you did not understand yet.
  3. She just understood what you have yet to understand.

In (3), have yet to isn't in the present perfect; rather, it's an idiom in the simple present. Collins defines "to have yet to (do something)" as "to have not yet (done something)," making it equivalent to (1). So we need only consider (1) and (2)

Particularly in American English, the simple past is often acceptable with both just and yet, though it is much more likely with the former; my answer to this previous question covers this issue. (1) is perfectly acceptable, but I think that most (including myself) would find (2) rather unnatural, since it uses the simple past with yet but the present perfect with just.

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