Brand New Lesson! Remain vs. Keep – Confusing Vocabulary Lesson

MIchael Vocabulary Leave a Comment

A lot of English learners have told me they have a hard time with the difference between REMAIN and KEEP. How about you? For today’s English lesson, let’s see how we can use these two similar verbs.

Remain means stay or to stay behind after other people have gone. A person can remain somewhere. Remain is a state. By the way, remain is an intransitive verb, so it does not have a direct object.

  1. All of the kids left the classroom, but Jane remained to do her homework. Jane stayed.
  2. You go to the restaurant. I will remain in the office and wait for the package to arrive. I will stay.
  3. Can you remain here with the bags? I will go to the check-in counter. Can you stay here?

In a similar way, things can also remain, after other things are gone. Things remain in a place. Something that remains is left.

  1. Several ancient buildings remain in that city. Buildings are left.
  2. Only one cookie remained after the birthday party. One cookie is left.
  3. None of the snow remained after the rain came. None of the snow was left.

Keep means to hold something, to possess something, or to reserve something like time or money. Keep is an action. Keep needs an object (transitive verb). You keep something.

  1. I keep my phone in my hand while I walk.
  2. I keep all of my old record albums in the attic.
  3. I’ll keep this time slot open for our class each week.

Can you think of an example with remain and keep? Leave your sentence in the comments below!

Show your support →

Grammar Book

Everything Your GRAMMAR BOOK Didn’t Teach You

Yes, your grammar book probably taught you the difference between during and while, but it probably didn’t teach you how we actually use those words in everyday English. This book does!

You’ll also learn how to really use phrases such as:

  • By Friday and Until Friday
  • In the end and At the end
  • I’m bored and I’m boring
  • Even if and Even though
  • Just and Only
  • Much and Many
  • Stop doing it and Stop to do it…and so much more!

You’ll also learn how to use causatives, conditionals, frequency adverbs, modal verbs, articles, and prepositions.

It’s …Everything Your GRAMMAR BOOK Didn’t Teach You


Join the club!