Encore et Toujours — What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between these two French sentences ?

  • Je suis encore à la maison.
  • Je suis toujours à la maison.

The answer is: it depends on the context. The two sentences might mean two different things entirely… or they might have the same meaning!

Confused? Don’t worry. We’re going to clear things up by looking at the key differences between encore and toujours.

What do these words mean in French? How can you use them in your sentences, so you can join a French conversation with confidence? We’ll explore all that and more, in this lesson.

C’est parti !

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1) Encore & Toujours : Overview

Encore → sounds like: \ɑ̃.kɔʁ\ = “anchorr” with a French nasal “en
Toujours → sounds like: \tu.ʒuʁ\ = “toojjoorr” with a soft “j / g” and a silent “s”

These two French adverbs are always spelled the same.

In the most basic terms:

Encore = “again” (synonyms: “de nouveau,” “à nouveau”, “une nouvelle fois”… but they’re all more formal and less commonly used.)
Je me suis encore perdue ! = I got lost again.

Toujours = “always” (synonyms: “habituellement,” “perpétuellement,” “continuellement,” “éternellement”… but they’re much more formal.)
Je suis toujours contente de te voir ! = I’m always happy to see you!

However, these two words do share a meaning: sometimes, encore = toujours = still (adverb)

It’s very common in everyday French conversation!

For example:
Elle n’est pas sortie, elle est encore chez elle.
= Elle n’est pas sortie, elle est toujours chez elle.
= She didn’t leave, she’s still home.

Tu as toujours envie de faire du saut à l’élastique ?
= Tu as encore envie de faire du saut à l’élastique ?
= Do you still want to go bungee jumping?

There’s a subtle difference, where “encore” is more often used to describe something that’s not going to last much longer, or something that’s been repeated. “Toujours” more so expresses the fact that it’s something frequent, or something very long. But really, they can be used one for another without problem here.

2) Other uses of “Toujours”

a) Toujours = anyway
Je sais pas s’il va pleuvoir, mais je vais toujours prendre un parapluie, on ne sait jamais. = I don’t know if it’s going to rain, but I’ll take an umbrella anyway, you never know.

Synonyms: Tout de même, de toute façon, “au cas où“ (= just in case), Quand même.

b) Pour toujours = Forever
Je t’aime pour toujours. = I love you forever.

Synonyms: éternellement, à jamais… (much more formal / poetic)

3) More uses of “Encore”

a) Encore plus / moins (+ adjectif) = Even more / less (+ adjective)

Elle est encore moins motivée que moi.
= She’s even less motivated than I am.

Vous êtes encore plus gentils qu’hier.
= You’re even nicer than yesterday.

Oh non! C’est encore pire !
= Oh no! It’s even worse!

b) Pas encore = “not yet” or “not again”

Tu t’es brossée les dents ?
Non, pas encore.
= Did you brush your teeth? Not yet.

Le chien a mangé ta brosse à dents.
Oh non ! Pas encore !
= The dog just ate your toothbrush. Oh no! Not again!

When pas encore means “not yet”, it’s a synonym of : toujours pas !
(See below, 4 – Negations)

c) Si encore = At least, if…

Si encore c’était prévu, pourquoi pas ? Mais là…
= If at least that was planned, why not? But now…

(Synonyms: Si au moins = If at least)

d) Encore = “It’s bad, but it’s not as bad as the other thing.”

For example:
Je préfère encore marcher que conduire.
= I’d even rather walk than drive.

e) Et encore = and even then…

Je peux à peine marcher dix kilomètres, et encore.
= I can barely walk ten kilometers, and even that (is difficult.)

Et encore, si c’était le seul problème…
= And even then, if that was the only problem…
= “That’s bad, but it’s not even the only problem… / It would be manageable if it were the only problem.”

J’ai ouvert le pot de confiture du premier coup. Et encore, j’ai pas forcé !
= I opened the jam jar on the first try. And I didn’t even have to try hard!

This meaning is correct but relatively informal. If you didn’t know that, you might make the mistake of thinking it means “again” here as well!

Finally, encore becomes the interjection of anger and frustration:
Et puis quoi encore ? = “What’s going on again?” / “And what now?” / “That’s crossing a line, I’m fed up.”

Nous avons travaillé pendant plus de 8 heures. Et puis quoi encore ! On ne va pas y passer toute la nuit.
= We’ve been working for more than 8 hours. [We’re fed up!] We’re not going to spend the night on this!

4) Encore & Toujours : Negations!

  • Toujours pas = still not
  • Pas toujours = not always
  • Pas encore = not yet (mostly), not again (sometimes)
  • Encore pas = again not

For example:

Il a mangé. = He ate.
Il (n’)a toujours pas mangé. = He still hasn’t eaten.
Il (n’)a pas toujours mangé. = He didn’t always eat.
Il (n’)a pas encore mangé. = He hasn’t eaten yet. (= He still hasn’t eaten).
Il a encore pas mangé. = Once again, he didn’t eat.

You can drop the “ne” in spoken French!

5) Encore & Toujours : Let’s practice together !

Repeat these sentences on your own, to “fix” them in your mind!

Je suis encore là. // Je suis toujours là.
= I’m still here.

Tu reprends encore un verre ?
= “Will you have a drink again ?” = “Do you want another drink ?”

Il y a toujours une exception en français.
= There’s always an exception in French

Congrats! That was a lot to learn, but you did it!

Use these lessons to learn more about French grammatical subtleties, so you can join French conversations with more confidence:

À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!

And now:

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Join the conversation!

  • Géraldine, j’ai une question, pas avec encore et toujours, mais avec l’usage de « re » avant beaucoup de verbs. Par example, quel est la différence entre « reprendre » et « prendre », « repartir » et « partir », etc. Il semble qu’il y a beaucoup des ces examples, et, je ne suis par sûre la différence.

    • Bonjour Denise!

      Bonne question 🙂

      Short answer: “Re” = “again / one more time / back”
      “Reprendre” = “Re” + “Prendre” (take) = To take back (or to take again, take one more time)
      –> Je reprends mon cadeau. = I take my gift back.
      –> Je reprends de la soupe. = I’ll take some soup again. = I’ll have some more soup.

      Longer answer:
      We might make a full lesson on this one day. But for now, I’ll just mention that you can find “Re” in this meaning in one of our oldest video: “Never say Bonjour twice” ( https://www.commeunefrancaise.com/blog/bonjour-day ) from 2013. (Géraldine has changed a lot in 8 years already!)

      “Rebonjour” (or “Re” for short) = “Hello again” = a greeting for when you’ve already said “bonjour” to someone today and you’re meeting them again.

      Passe une très bonne journée,

      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

  • “Never cast a clout til May is out” on dit la même dans Yorkshire, Angleterre.
    Clout = Nordic/Viking klut= cloth = clothes

    • Hi Bill!

      “Pas” never gets elided (there might be an exception somewhere but I can’t think of one right now)

      There can be a liaison ([“paz” encore]), especially when speaking less informally, to sound more elegant.

      Have a great day,
      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

  • Salut Géraldine !
    Je parlais à mon jeune prof de français après un dîner avec elle et sa copine.
    Je lui ai demande quand elle allait se marier?
    Elle m’a dit “pas encore!!”

    Tu peux imaginer ce que j’ai dit, en pensant que” encore signifiait “again” in English……!


    • Hahaha !

      C’est vrai, “pas encore” means both “not yet” and “not again.” C’est dommage !

      Passe une bonne journée 🙂

      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

  • Merci beaucoup Géraldine c’est très utile et j’aime toujours votre leçons
    Bonne journée

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