Some example sentences:

1) "His first child is a boy, while his remaining/other children are girls."

2) "He spend hundred dollars on a suit and the remaining/other dollars on new shoes."

3) "The first car was faster than the other/remaining cars."

Following my intuition, it is 1) other and 2) remaining. However, is there a rule for more complicated cases, like 3)?

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  • If you take something away, the things that are left over remain. So if the first car was driven first, you could use remaining; but you could also use other. If all the cars are racing at the same time, I wouldn't use remaining. – Peter Shor Mar 15 '16 at 12:40
  • When you want to emphasize the remainingness of the other. – Hot Licks Mar 15 '16 at 12:42

"Remaining" means "the ones that are left after the others have been removed/have gone".

So, let's look at your examples:

1) "remaining children" implies that the first child has died, so that's not right! Use "other".

2) He's spent some money, and has some left, so calling the money he still has his "remaining money" is appropriate. (BTW, you should say "He spent one hundred dollars..." or "He spent hundreds of dollars...", not "He spend hundred dollars...")

3) You would only use remaining if he doesn't have the first car any more, and since this isn't specified, you should say "other".

  • ... or maybe you're test driving a lot of cars, and you test drive the first car first, after which you test drive the remaining cars which have not yet been test-driven. – Peter Shor Mar 15 '16 at 12:44
  • Yes, it would apply then too. In that instance, the first car has left the "group of cars which still need to be test-driven" and so the others could be called the "remaining cars". – Max Williams Mar 15 '16 at 13:30
  • I think that, in each case, including option 1, you could add more context (ie preceding text) which would make the use of "remaining" appropriate, but if that context isn't there then you shouldn't assume it. – Max Williams Mar 15 '16 at 13:31

"Remaining" implies that something has been removed, or taken away. In the case with describing persons, in certain contexts it can mean a subset of a group where one or more has died .

Sometimes "other" has the connotation that you're describing one item out of a group of two, unless a number has been specified.

Consider usage of "the rest".

  • "In the case with describing persons, it means a subset of a group where one or more has died." Absolutely not! It might mean that, although I'd be much more likely to use the word surviving, but it can mean a lot of other things as well. "... the remaining contestants on American Idol," for example. – Peter Shor Mar 15 '16 at 16:53
  • You're right. It's contextual. On an obituary (smile) it means the ones who aren't dead. – Xavier J Mar 15 '16 at 16:57

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