2

What is the difference between 'finished' and 'completed', As both words gives the same meaning.

Ex 1: He finished his homework.

Ex 2: He completed his homework.

And also how to use or where to use these words ?

Dictionary Reference :

Completed : Finish making or doing.

Finished : Brought to an end; completed.

As for me both sentence has same or mere meaning, So is there any real difference between?

  • I guess most of the time they mean the same thing. But sometimes only one works: you can finish a meal, but you can't complete it. – bjb568 Apr 16 '15 at 4:09
  • 1
    @bjb568 When you marry the right women, you are 'Complete'. If you marry the wrong women, you are 'Finished', BUT when the right women catch you with the wrong women, you are 'Completely Finished`. – Krebto Mar 8 '17 at 14:50
  • 1
    @Krebto Haha. Though that problem likely started with the plural. – Lawrence Mar 8 '17 at 14:57
  • @Lawrence haha indeed. – Krebto Mar 8 '17 at 14:58
  • @bjb568 - Dessert finishes the meal! – Davo Mar 8 '17 at 15:14
4

I could see a subtle difference. I always though the difference was this:

completed - means you've done all the parts of the relevant task
finished - you have done the task as a whole, but you may have skipped some parts.

Example:

I have finished the game, but I'm yet to complete all the side quests.

Edit: Free Dictionary agrees with me

Complete
1. Having all necessary or normal parts, components, or steps; entire: a complete medical history; a complete set of dishes.

Finish
a. To stop (doing an activity or task) after reaching the point at which there is nothing left to do: finished cleaning the room.
b. To bring to a required or desired state: finish an assignment; finish a painting.

  • So how about saying as 'Completely finished?', Do the meaning change here? – Emmanuel Angelo.R Apr 16 '15 at 5:37
  • That would mean that every single thing is finished. It would be an extra emphasis. – Zikato Apr 16 '15 at 5:39
3

Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) identifies the following distinctions between complete and finish:

CLOSE, END, CONCLUDE, FINISH, COMPLETE, TERMINATE mean to bring or come to a stopping point or limit. ... FINISH may stress completion of a final step in a process {after it is painted, the house will be finished}. COMPLETE implies the removal of all deficiencies or a successful finishing of what has been undertaken {the resolving of this lat issue completes the agreement}.

S.I. Hayakawa, Choose the Right Word (1968) offers this comparison:

Finish and complete men to bring to an anticipated end by doing all things that are necessary or appropriate to achieving that end. Although the two words may be used as exact synonyms, complete suggests the fulfillment of an assigned task and is therefore not always an appropriate substitute for finish. An author may complete or finish his novel; a reader might finish it, but one would not say that he completed it unless he were reading it as a school assignment.

Given how close in meaning the two words are, I think Hayakawa's argument that complete tends to be more narrowly associated with assigned tasks than finish is makes a good point. In my experience, people say, for example, "Are you going to finish [or finish eating] your dessert?"—not "Are you going to complete [or complete eating] your dessert?"

1

The terms are interchangeable in any context I can think of.

  • So you consider he finished his meal to be equivalent to he completed his meal? – oerkelens Jul 15 '15 at 8:13
  • Point of fact, I do. – silenceislife Jul 17 '15 at 5:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.