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Since there is a specific ratio between, for example, two reactants for the reaction, only a certain amount of Reactant A will be used in respect to Reactant B so whichever one "runs out" first is limiting the reaction because no more of it is available and the one remaining is in excess. I think you're confusing the conservation of mass principle in this instance since you're thinking that the excess reactant that remain is part of the conservation of mass but you're not supposed to include it when you compare the mass of reactants and products, you only include the mass of the reactants that actually reacted. Hope that helps.
If A reacts with B and B is the limiting reactant, B will be completely used up in the reaction while there is still some left of A. The conservation of mass applies to whatever portion of A and B react, but the mass left over from A (the reactant in excess) can also be included in the end mass. You can disregard the unused mass of A (the reactant in excess), as Preet_Bains stated, but really you can include A's unreacted mass because it will be unchanged by the reaction.
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