I'd like to know whether left or forgotten is correct in the following:

The librarian always goes all around the library before closing time in case someone has left / forgotten something.

I'd appreciate your help.


Both words are fine.

However, if you use left you would normally add behind to the phrase.


 . . . in case someone has forgotten something.
 . . . in case someone has left something behind.

As a more general comment, it would be more natural to say:

 . . . before closing time in order to (see / check) if someone . . .

Using in case someone gives a slightly odd meaning to the sentence.

  • What about "in case anyone has left behind their belongings"? Would you still find "in case" odd? – Apollyon Dec 16 '18 at 8:21
  • Only slightly, and only upon analysis. The issue is that in case someone x makes the sentence sound like because someone might have x. But while because doesn't require something extra, in case does in order to be complete. (In case someone left something behind and it needed to be returned.) – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Dec 16 '18 at 15:03

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