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Autor:  Márcio Farias
E-mail:  marcio_osorio@oi.com.br
Data:  25/SET/2007 9:25 PM
Assunto:  End vs. Finish
 
Mensagem:  Here goes something. Thanks to Michael Swan's New Practical English Usage manual for which I shelled out R$118 as tearlessly as I could!

The verbs end and finish have similar meanings, and you can use them interchangeably. Almost always. I said almost.

Native speakers of English generally prefer finish over end, especially when they talk about completing something, a task, a job, or some other activity, usually something they set about doing.

Jack never finishes anything (= he never completes whatever he starts doing).

Nah, Beany Meany'll never finish that hamburger--it simply does not fit in her tiny mouth.

You use end when you wish or want to bring about an important change.

Jack and Beany Meany ended their affair yesterday. They do not wish to meet again.

The Second World War ended in 1945. Try saying "... finished... " here, and people'll start asking "finished what?"

Native speakers of English also prefer end to talk about a special way of bringing something to a close or "shaping" the end of something.

How do you end a letter to somebody you don't know?

The party ended with a farewell speech from Mr. Phylosophartus, which he hastily finished by walking  out through the back door.

NSEs also use end to talk about physical shapes. And so should all the ESL learners.

The road abruptly ended as we frantically tried to outswim the engulfing, raging flood.

Nouns that end in -s have plurals in -es.

You can use finish, but not end, with an -ing form.

No sooner had Mr. Thompson finished teaching than his students all ran out into the street. And back home they went.

I can't imagine myself saying, "... Thompson ended teaching..." It just doesn't feel right. Neither can PPaulo, JR, Alexander, Dale, Orlando, to name a few. Or can they? No can do in Carandiroo.


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 English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
End vs. Finish  –  Lucia  25/SET/2007, 4:34 PM
End vs. Finish  –  Johannes  25/SET/2007, 5:35 PM
 End vs. Finish  –  Márcio Farias  25/SET/2007, 9:25 PM
End vs. Finish  –  PPAULO  25/SET/2007, 10:14 PM

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