"3 minutes remaining" / "3 minutes left"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by nakatakangaroo, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. nakatakangaroo Member

    Hi friends,
    May I know what the difference between "3 minutes remaining" and "3 minutes left" is?
    For example:There were only 3 minutes remaining!
    Does it equal to " There were only 3 remaining minutes!
    Can I also say: There were only 3 minutes left!
    Does it equal to There were only 3 left minutes!

  2. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    They are synonymous, at least for me. I can't think of a situation where I'd use one and not the other. Perhaps "to be left" is a bit more colloquial, but I say both.
  3. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I have put a single "X" against your second sentence simply because it's not idiomatic. I have put a double "XX" behind your last sentence because it's ungrammatical.

    Yes, "3 minutes remaining" and "3 minutes left" mean the same thing.
  4. Cypherpunk Senior Member

    Springdale, AR
    US, English
    One additional note: '3 minutes remaining' is often used to indicate a small amount of time is left before an activity or event ends (e.g. a sporting event, time to accept an offer, time remaining that an item is on offer on one of the home shopping cable channels, etc.). The other phrase '3 minutes left' is used more often in other ways like time before something starts, time until something changes, and so on.

    EDIT: I was typing while Dimcl was posting. I'm glad we agree!
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  5. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    We would never say "3 left minutes". The use of the others depends on the context. The meanings are similar even when not identical.

    Do you have a particular context in mind or a particular distinction you want to express?
  6. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Ah, I misread the initial post. Perhaps my eyes just rearranged the words to my taste.

    I agree with the above posts.
  7. lgr632525968

    lgr632525968 Senior Member

    Hi, here is my question.

    Yesterday, there was a big sale on online shopping mall(I don't know how to say that). Many people asked me if I bought anything online. I told them I had spent two-thirds of my allowance in the past ten days so I could only afford my meals with my left/remaining money.

    In this context, which word should I use, left or remaining?

    Thank you.
  8. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    You have to say remaining money. Left is not an attributive adjective and cannot be placed before a noun. Another example is afraid​: you can say 'I am afraid', but you can't say 'the afraid child'.
  9. charlie_one New Member

    if remaining is an attributive adjective what kind of adjective is left ?

  10. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    It is called a predicative adjective (i.e. coming after the noun as part of the predicate).
    Like, for example, awake.

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