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The word "left" has many different meanings and uses in English.

Left is the opposite of right:

  • Make a left turn at the intersection.
  • Bob uses his left hand for almost everything. He’s left-handed.
  • Your heart is located on the left side of your body.
  • The big toe on my left foot hurts today.
  • Sam is a lefty. (A person who uses his or her left hand is sometimes called a lefty.)

The word "left" is also the past tense of the verb "leave."

simple past past participle
  • Lisa left class early today.
  • The plane left an hour ago.
  • The businessman left a small tip for the waitress.
  • You left your coat at the movie theater. (You forgot to take it with you when the movie was over.)

Sometimes we use "left" to indicate an amount of time, money, or some material that remains after it is used:

  • There’s not much time left to prepare for our trip. (There’s not much time remaining.)
  • How much milk is left? (How much is remaining?)
  • She doesn’t have much money left after paying her monthly bills.

Sometimes the word "left" refers to political movements. For instance, socialism and communism are considered to be on the left; capitalism and fascism are considered to be on the right.

  • The far left-wing of the Democratic Party is in favor of universal health care in the United States.
  • Fidel Castro was the leader of a leftist political movement in Cuba.
  • People on the left generally favor a more equal distribution of wealth among the general population.

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First published on February 27, 2013.



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