Difference between “Finish” and “End” in English

End or finish ? - Grammar

What is the difference between Finish and End in English?

When learning English, you often come across words that are synonyms. They seem clear and very simple. For example, the words “finish” and “end”. We often hear and use these words, but do we always use them correctly? If you are confident, then just go to the last point – “Practice: understanding the difference between “finish” and “end” and test yourself. Otherwise, let’s familiarize ourselves with the difference between “finish” and “end” in English.

When to use Finish?

Finish” is a verb that means the completion of a task, action, or process. It is often associated with achieving a goal or bringing something to an end. When you say, “I finished my homework,” it means the task is done and you can move on to something else. “Finish” is usually used when you want to say completion, which refers to the completion of any stage or part of this task.

For example:

  • “I will finish reading this book by the end of the week.”
  • “She finished her presentation with a compelling conclusion.”

When to use End?

End” is a noun or verb that means to stop or complete something. “End” is used when something ceases to exist or continues. Often refers to  stopping or completely ending that work. Sometimes an unexpected ending, then you can also use “end”.

For example:

  • “The movie had a surprising twist at the end.”
  • “We need to end the meeting on time.”

Difference between End and Finish

  1. Nature of Completion:
    • Finish: Implies the successful completion of a task or activity with a sense of accomplishment.
    • End: Denotes the termination or conclusion of something without necessarily emphasizing achievement.
    • If we are talking about the completion of an event or action that has a certain result, the correct option is probably “finish.” For example, “finish the race” or “finish the project.”
  2. Emphasis on Accomplishment:
    • Finish: Often used when highlighting the thoroughness and completeness of a task.
    • End: Focuses on the termination point rather than the success or completeness of the process.
    • If we are talking about the completion of a specific action or task, the more likely option is “finish.” For example, “finish the homework.”
  3. Usage in Deadlines:
    • Finish: Associated with meeting deadlines and completing tasks within a specified time frame.
    • End: Indicates a point in time when something concludes, such as the end of a meeting or event.
    • If you are talking about the end of a certain period of time, “end” is probably the correct option. For example, “at the end of the week.”
  4. Event Termination vs. Achievement:
    • Finish: Applied to activities, projects, or tasks where successful completion is a key aspect.
    • End: More broadly used for concluding events, periods, or situations.
    • If the ending is unexpected or unexpected, “end.” is probably the correct option. For example, “the relationship ended.”
  5. Incorporating in Sentences:
    • Finish: Often used independently to signify the completion of a specific action.
    • End: May require additional context to specify what is concluding or terminating.
  6. Synonyms and Collocations:
    • Finish: Synonyms include complete, accomplish, and conclude. Common collocations include “finish a book” or “finish a race.”
    • End: Synonyms include conclude, terminate, and wrap up. Common collocations include “end a meeting” or “end a relationship.”
  7. Deadline Focus:
    • Finish: Frequently used in contexts where meeting a deadline or reaching a goal is emphasized.
    • End: Used when referring to the conclusion of a period, event, or situation without necessarily tying it to a specific achievement.
  8. Expectation of Continuation:
    • Finish: Implies a sense of closure, often leading to a transition to a new task or activity.
    • End: Indicates a conclusion without necessarily suggesting a subsequent action or continuation.

Distinguishing Between Finish and End in Context

Understanding when to use “finish” or “end” depends on the context and the nuance you want to convey. If you want to express the successful completion of a task, “finish” is the appropriate choice. On the other hand, if you are talking about the termination or conclusion of something without necessarily emphasizing accomplishment, “end” fits better.

Consider these examples to highlight the difference:

  • “I will finish my work before the end of the day.” (Completing a task)
  • “The concert will end at midnight.” (Terminating an event)

It is also possible that both words are in the same sentence:

  • “I will finish writing the report by the end of the week.”

Read the sentences carefully, as the context can provide additional information about what to use.

Practice: understanding the difference between “finish” and “end”

Read the sentences and choose one answer to fill in the blanks.

The brothers will ....... school both together at the end of this year.

They wanted their daughter to improve her social skills and sent her to the famous ....... school in Switzerland.

You can't miss it, it's that tall building right at the ....... of the road.

Sadly their marriage of 25 years ....... in divorce.

It didn't take long for the children to ....... off the cakes and pastries that had not been eaten at the party.

He thought they would all share the cost of the meal but unfortunately he ....... up paying for everybody.

After the children had ....... doing their homework, the whole family watched television.

You could tell the time by him because he always ....... work at exactly the same time every day.

I've written practically the whole book except for the last part and I just don't know how to ....... the story.

To most people it seemed like a long and successful relationship and so it was a great surprise to learn that they had ....... with each other.

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