What's the difference between end and finish?

Finish and end both mean something stops. Finish typically means something is complete and end is the last part of something. 

How they are the same

In many cases, finish and end both mean that something has stopped. 
• When the movie ended, everyone left the theater. 
• When the movie finished, everyone left the theater. 

How they are different 

End is typically the last or the farthest part of something. 
• The road ends in a cul-de-sac. (not finish) (V)
• I bumped my leg on the end of the table. (not finish) (N)

Finish often shows something is complete. 
• He finished all his food. (not ended) (V)
• She finished all her work last night. (not ended) 
• Hurry up and finish your dinner. (not end)

Finish is often used as an adjective, but end is not. 
• I want the finished report on my desk tomorrow morning. 
• It’ll be finished soon. 

Finish + ing 
X She finished to read and went to sleep.
O She finished reading and went to sleep.
Notice “end” is not followed by the gerund or the infinitive.

Some common phrases 
• After a series of failures, his singing career was finished. (failed)
• This is a fight to the finish. (a very serious competition)
• Nice guys finish last. (nice guys aren’t successful)

• This race is incredibly difficult from start to finish
• This race is incredibly difficult from beginning to end

• We always say goodbye at the end of the day. (the last part of the day)
• We’re in the endgame now. (the last part of the game)
• And they lived happily ever after. The end. (the story is over)
• That contract came to an end in June. (stopped)
• He was so depressed he decided to end it all. (kill himself)
• I’m so stressed out. I’m at the end of my rope. (very stressed out)
• If you don’t give me the money I’ll end you! (kill)

(There are LOTS more.)

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