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During a parent meeting , I heard a teacher say :

  • I remain sceptical (on the progress of the child).

and the parent questioning him-

  • Why do you continue to remain sceptical?
  • Isn't "I am sceptical" a better phrasing instead of "I remain sceptical" or is it informal?

  • continue to remain sceptical- makes sense to me, because the sceptism is based on the past performance which was poor and no improvement is apparent. Does my logic meets the grammar?

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    You remain sceptical if you doubt something about which you were sceptical in the first place. You continue to remain sceptical if, at a later time, you still doubt it. – Robusto Feb 26 '15 at 16:27
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    what confuses me is that "remain' carries a connotation of "continuity", so why continue to remain. – Manish Feb 26 '15 at 16:29
  • Apparently you remain confused about this. Which just means that you were confused at some time in the past, and now you continue to be confused. – Robusto Feb 26 '15 at 16:32
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    Remain is a very troublesome verb, especially in constructions like She remains to be convinced. In the sentences in the OQ, it simply means a continuative sense of auxiliary be with a stative predicate adjective skeptical. That's in the first one. In the second one it indicates that this is a long- and firmly-held position, which is not implied without remain. – John Lawler Feb 26 '15 at 16:38
  • While logically challenging, it might be just a way of expressing polite incredulity on the part of the parent. – anemone Feb 26 '15 at 16:45
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"I remain skeptical" implies that I was skeptical in the past and I still am skeptical, despite implied events that might have caused me to no longer be skeptical.

"I am skeptical" refers only to the present time and carries no implied information about my skepticism in the past, or any events that might have changed it.

"continue to remain skeptical" is a bit of a tautology. "Continue to be skeptical" and "remain skeptical" mean the same thing. However "continue to remain" is fairly common usage.

  • “Why do you still keep on continuing to stay persistent in carrying on remaining sceptical?” – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 26 '15 at 18:09

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