encore/toujours

What’s the difference between encore and toujours?

Encore et toujours are both adverbs of time. They are interchangeable when they mean still or yet, however they also have different meanings in many other contexts. Read on to learn when to use encore and when to use toujours, then put your knowledge to the test in the exercises.

Example

Laura et Chloé papotent tranquillement. Elles se retrouvent toujours le dimanche et boivent le thé ensemble. Ce week-end, elles parlent encore des vacances qui arrivent à grands pas.

« Tu n’as pas encore acheté ton billet d’avion ? », demande Chloé à Laura.

« Non, il y a toujours quelqu’un qui vient me déranger lorsque je veux m’en occuper », lui répond Clara.

When are encore and toujours interchangeable?

Encore and toujours are both adverbs of time. They are interchangeable, but only in two specific situations:

  • We can use both encore and toujours to mean still: they express the continuation of an action or situation that began in the past and continues in the present or the future.
    Example:
    Nous ne pouvons pas aller à la plage, il pleut encore.We can’t go to the beach, it’s still raining.
    Nous ne pouvons pas aller à la plage, il pleut toujours.We can’t go to the beach, it’s still raining.
  • In negative sentences, encore and toujours both mean yet: they describe an action that hasn’t happened, but is expected to.
    Example:
    Ils ne sont pas encore arrivés.They haven’t arrived yet.
    Ils ne sont toujours pas arrivés.They haven’t arrived yet.
    Note: encore comes after the negation pas, but toujours comes before.

encore

We use the adverb encore in the following cases:

  • to mean again when expressing repetition
    Example:
    Léonie a encore perdu ses clés.Léonie has lost her keys again.
  • to mean another or some more when adding something
    Example:
    —Vous désirez boire autre chose ?—Would you like something else to drink?
    Encore un café, s’il vous plaît.—Another coffee, please.
  • to mean even before the adverbs plus, mieux, moins
    Example:
    Florian est grand, mais Sylvain est encore plus grand.Florian is taller, but Sylvain is even taller.

toujours

We use the adverb toujours in the following cases:

  • to mean always
    Example:
    Charlotte a toujours été une femme d’action.Charlotte has always been a woman of action.
  • to express the idea of constantly or all the time
    Exemple :
    Julie est toujours en retard.Julie is constantly late.

To learn about some other confusing word pairs, take a look at our pages on il y a/depuis and mieux/meilleur.