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The following sentence belongs to a multiple-choice exercise about the grammar point うちに in the book 新完全マスターN2文法:

(  )うちに欲しい物を買っておこう。

a) お金がある  b) 給料をもらう  c) お金が残る

I chose c) お金が残る, but according to the answer key, the correct choice is a) お金がある.

I understand how お金がある fits fine with うちに ("let's buy the things we want while we have money"), but I chose お金が残る precisely because I thought that the verb 残る ("to remain") conveys better than ある the idea that we are running out of money, i.e. that there is a limit in time whithin which money remains ("let's buy the things we want while money remains [because you know, we might run out of it]), and according to the definition in the textbook, うちに is used when there is a limit in time to do the action:

~うちに:  時間の制限があって、~でなくなった後では実現が難しいから、その前にしてしまう。

So I wonder, why is ある the correct answer? Does 残る also make sense even though the best choice is ある, or is it just wrong?

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  • I think C would only be most appropriate if there were more context explaining that the money is somehow running out.
    – istrasci
    Nov 6, 2023 at 1:13
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    @istrasci Still wouldn't it need to be お金が残っている instead of just 残る?
    – A.Ellett
    Nov 6, 2023 at 1:27
  • @A.Ellett - It might make sense if, for example, you buy something regularly, now you still have some money left after buying it out of your regular income, but your income is going down and you may one day run out of money.
    – aguijonazo
    Nov 6, 2023 at 4:39

1 Answer 1

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In order for C to be a correct, it would need to read お金が残っている. But as it is you're choosing between お金がある and お金が残る. The first makes perfectly good sense in both Japanese and English, "while there is money".

However, in the case of choice C, it reads more like "while there will remain money". 残る describes a future (non-past) state of remaining, but it's not a state of remaining. 残っている gives the sense that something previously accumulated still remains (a state of remaining).

The intransitive nature of 残る makes this subtlety a bit difficult to tease out on the English side of thing. Granted, in English too, to remain is intransitive, but in English we have future, present, and past tenses while in Japanese there is past and non-past.

If choice C had read お金が残っている, then either A or C would be correct. It seems to me that they're testing on the difference between the active vs stative form of the verb: 残る vs 残っている. ある is already stative. In the grammar of <verb>うちに you expressing the idea of while the state of <verb> persists. Hence the need for a stative form.

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