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I'm totally confused about the usage of left and remain- in many situations.

For example, when talking about the quantity of the classes that I have to take today after I took one class already and I'm not sure how many more classes we I have today, then I'm going to ask my friend:

How many classes are left today?

How many classes remained / remains today? (or maybe do remains, or did remain)

Another example:

When asking about quantity of a product:

How many eggs (are?) left in the refrigerator?

How many eggs remained / remains in the refrigerator?

What's the proper way to use them?

N.b. editing addition: should we not use auxiliary verb with remain as we do with left (both: in passive voice and present progressive)? I mean to something like "How many eggs do remain in the refrigerator?" If we shouldn't, then what's the difference between left and remain, here are both verbs, and why do we use auxiliary verb just in case of 'left'?

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"Left" is the past participle of "leave". With "left", the item receives the action, so you use passive voice:

How many classes are left today?

How many eggs are left in the refrigerator?

With "remain", the item performs the action, so you should say:

How many classes remain today?

How many eggs remain in the refrigerator?

How many classes are remaining today?

How many eggs are remaining in the refrigerator?

Here "are remaining" is present progressive rather than passive voice. Also, since "classes" and "eggs" are plural, you should use "remain".

  • Thank you very much for the answer (^1). But before I accept the answer I wanted to ask, should we not use auxiliary verb with remain as we do with left (both: in passive voice and present progressive)? I mean to sth like "How many eggs *do * remain in the refrigerator?" If we shouldn't, then what's the difference between left and remain, here are both verbs, and why do we use auxiliary verb just in case of 'left'? – Judicious Allure Dec 22 '18 at 13:25
  • @Perplexedfolks The difference is explained in the answer. "Remain" is the action performed by the eggs (i.e. "the eggs remain"), but "left" is an action performed to the eggs, so "left" uses passive voice (i.e. "the eggs are left"). The verbs describe a similar situation, but with a different emphasis. – Tashus Dec 22 '18 at 18:23
  • I understand well the difference between the active and passive voice, and I'm asking about something else. Interrogative sentences should anyway start with auxiliary verb, for instance: "Do you want to read it?". Now I'm asking if our case is an exception in this rule? – Judicious Allure Dec 22 '18 at 18:44
  • @Perplexedfolks The auxiliary verb with "left" is only a part of the passive voice. It is not because the sentence is interrogative. Many interrogative sentences lack "do". "Who went to the store?" "How many people use the gym?" "When will your mother arrive?" – Tashus Dec 22 '18 at 21:02
  • That's something new that I learnt now from you. Because always I thought (based on what I studied) that interrogative sentence of present simple -such as: "He went somewhere" will be "Who did go to the store" rather than "Who went to the store").. You examples from future tense ("When will your mother arrive?") does the opposite and supports my question since it uses auxiliary verb "will". – Judicious Allure Dec 22 '18 at 21:15

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