Leftover vs. Left Over. Which Is Correct?

"Leftover" and "left over" are both adjectives and have the same meaning. What's the difference? "Leftover" can only be used before a noun.

"Leftover" and "left over" are both adjectives and have the same meaning. So, what's the difference? "Leftover" can only be used before a noun.

This leftover chicken is delicious.

I'll take whatever is left over

Typically, "leftover" comes directly before the noun it describes.

You can freeze your leftover candy.

But you can add an adjective between "leftover" and the noun.

What can I make with my leftover cooked pasta?

In other situations, use left over. For example, you can say "the pasta is left over" or "the leftover pasta is..."

The bread is left over. You can use the leftover bread to prepare lunch.

"Leftover" is also a noun. It should be preceded by a determiner in the singular ("a", "the", "this", etc.)

The gadget is a leftover from the analog era.

However, the plural form (leftovers) is the most common choice when talking about the food that hasn't been eaten at the end of a meal.

Olivia made a great dish out of yesterday's leftovers.

Remember, the plural form takes a plural form of a verb, so we say "leftovers are", not "leftovers is".

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