I actually have three questions:

If any time remains or if time remains, which one is true?

For example:

If (any) time remains we will take a look at that

or "we take a look at that"? (In the latter part of the sentence, should we say we'll or we?)

And my last question is: can anyone suggest any other phrases to express this kind of situation? I mean if I have a number of certain things to do within a limited time, and I'm offered to do something else, how can I express my situation in terms of being able to spare time for things other than my main job? What are the ways of saying this?

With my time being limited, it depends if time permits to do other job requests

  • 1
    "Time permitting, ..." is a common way of saying that. – Ross Murray Dec 10 '18 at 9:15
  • Another way to say it is: If there's enough time, we can take a look at that. – J.R. Dec 10 '18 at 12:15

It depends on how specific you want to be about the remaining time.

If you want to indicate that any amount of remaining time will allow "that" to be looked at, then you should use:

If any time remains we will take a look at that.

If you don't use "any" then time is just abstract and not a measurement. For example - imagine you had a jug containing drinking water. If you said "we will do [x] if water remains in the jug" it is not clear whether you mean all of the water or some of the water. Likewise, some people will say "if time remains..." but it is vague. Parents may tell a nagging child "we'll do that if there is time" just to get them off their back. When you say "any time remaining" you are specifically referring to any hours or minutes that are left over after something else has been done. You could also say "if enough time remains...".

"Will" is needed because the sentence is conditional and you are talking about something that will happen in the future if the condition is met.

"Time" can also be used in a more abstract way to describe the concept of time, and some might instead say:

If time allows we will take a look at that.

  • 1
    I don't follow the requirement to use any before time remains but not before time allows. Are they not just different ways of saying exactly the same thing? – Ronald Sole Dec 10 '18 at 10:00
  • 1
    @RonaldSole No it isn't the same. When you speak about "remaining" time, you are dividing time up into time spent, and time remaining. It is like a quantity. But if you simply say "if time allows" you are speaking about the time you have as a whole. You haven't divided it up. – Astralbee Dec 10 '18 at 10:06
  • 1
    I see what you are saying but your argument would not find any support on Google Books Ngram Viewer where if time remains appears several times more popular than if any time remains., more especially over the past half century. – Ronald Sole Dec 10 '18 at 10:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.