Remains – During the past ten months of 2019, at least two significant world cultural sites have caught fire: Notre Dame in Paris and Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa. Both are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. One term that we usually come across while reading news reports about these incidents is ‘remains’. As a noun, it invariably appears ending with –s. It has two meanings: 1) trace or what’s left of a damaged or taken away item/site/object and 2) a dead body, or what’s left of it, of a person or animal.

The noun ‘remainder’ has a close, but slightly different meaning: a remaining part or parts of something which is not associated with the sense of being destroyed. It is also a mathematical term, meaning the left-over amount after a subtraction.

‘Remains’ can also function as the form of the verb ‘to remain’ while being conjugated in the present tense following a singular subject. To ‘remain’, one among the group of linking verbs (get, become, look and so on), is an intransitive verb with the meaning of staying in the same unchanged condition/position (and possibly waiting for something to be done).

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