Remain vs remaining


“Only 3 days remain…” or “Only 3 days remaining…”?

asked Jan 19 '11 at 13:04 Igor Skliarevsky New member

3 answers


Grammatically, these phrases seem equivilent; however there is a nuance here that should not be missed.


"Only 3 days remain" is more formal and is usually used when we are anticipating (or dreading) something.  For example:

"Only 3 days remain before the wedding." or "Only 3 days remain before the trip."


The second phrase, "only 3 days remaining" is more informal and is normally used when we are counting down to something or providing background information.  NOTE: You cannot start a sentence with this phrase alone.  Here are some examples of how it may be used:

"There are only 3 days remaining in the sale at Harrods!"

"With only 3 days remaining before the wedding, we frantically finished the seating plan."


The most informal and most like that used in speech is the phrase, without 'remain', i.e. "Only 3 days before our trip! Yay!"


link comment answered Jan 19 '11 at 18:56 Kimberly Expert

I guess, both can be used interchangeably

link comment edited Jan 23 '11 at 12:22 Vsevolod New member

In my opinion, "remaining" is more appealing to reader's action.

For example, McDonalds motto is "I'm loving it". Not just "I love it".

link comment answered Jan 19 '11 at 15:37 Roman Vorushin New member

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