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Please take a look at the following two sentences.

(1)She still isn't able to do the waltz.
(2)It's still not clear whether or not he'll come.

Both sentences use the verb "be," and "still" in (1) is placed before it, while the counterpart in (2) after it. Why different in positions? Can't the sentence (1) be "She isn't still able to do the waltz"? Likewise, is it impossible to change the sentence (2) to "It still isn't clear whether or not he'll come"? And do the contractions "isn't" and "It's" affect differently from when they are not contracted?

I always appreciate your help.
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Hi

Usually "still" is put at mid-position. The mid-position is defined as the place immediately before the main verb, and when an auxiliary verb (including "be") exists, it is defined as the place after the auxiliary verb. So in the case of your examples, the normal forms are;
(1) She is still not able to do the waltz.
(2) It is still not clear whether or not he'll come.
(3) I cannot still speak good English.
But you can put "still" immediately after the subjective (and before the auxiliary verb) when you want to make emphasis on the word "still".
(1) She still is not able to do the waltz.
(2) It still is not clear whether or not he'll come.
(3) I still cannot speak good English.

paco
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Hello Ko and Paco

I hope you don't mind if I add my thoughts on ['to be' + 'not' + 'still'].

(1) She still isn't able to do the waltz.
(2) It's still not clear whether or not he'll come.

'Still' can be placed either between 'is' and 'not' (=2), or before 'is not'/'isn't' (=1). I can't myself detect a significant difference in emphasis between the two positions. (The presence of 'still' is itself an indication of emphasis.)

(3) 'She isn't still able to do the waltz.'

This 3rd position of 'still' (after ['to be' + 'not']) sounds slightly clumsy, except as a question, where it has an air of incredulity: 'you don't mean to say she's still able to do the waltz?' (perhaps she's 90) or as a contradiction ('she isn't still able to do the waltz', where the emphasis is on 'isn't').

(4) 'It still isn't clear whether or not he'll come.' (=1)

This is fine.

(5) 'I cannot still speak good English.'

This could only occur as a contradiction or an incredulous question, i.e. 'it's not true that I can still speak good English' or 'Are you saying I can't still speak good English?'.

MrP
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Comments  

Hello! What about this particular sentence: "he still is regretting doing this"? Can we put 'still' before or can it only be in the middle?

Thanks!

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