to finish / to stop

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Gavril, May 4, 2014.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    I would define the difference between the English verbs stop and finish as follows:

    finish is used when an action reaches a defined point of completion: I finished mowing the lawn means that you cut all the grass on your lawn, and there was nothing more left to do.

    stop is used when there is a breach or interruption in the course of an action: I stopped mowing the lawn means that the process of mowing the lawn was interrupted because something else caught your attention, because you were tired, or for some other reason, but generally not because you completed the task.

    Which languages regularly make this distinction, and which languages don't?

  2. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Interesting distinction you point out, had not thought of it yet. I don't think we can make that distinction when stopping is combined with a verb (we always say 'stoppen met [with] V'). In some other cases it would be afwerken (lit. 'work off', where 'af-' suggests the finish, until the very end, the bottom, etc.)... Those are the facts as far as I can see for Dutch.
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  3. arielipi Senior Member

    finish - לגמור ligmor, root g-m-r (also became more sex-associated, to cum - essentially to finish the act). לסיים lesayem root s-y-m.
    stop - לעצור la'atzor (more like to halt). להפסיק lehafsik (more like to [take a] break).
  4. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    To finish: «Τελειώνω» [te'ʎono] < Classical Gr. v. «τελειόω/τελειῶ» tĕleióō (uncontracted)/tĕleiô (contracted) --> to make perfect, complete, accomplish < Classical neut. noun «τέλος» télŏs --> end, limit, goal, fulfillment, accomplishment, determination (PIE *telh₂-, to lift up, load onto oneself, support).

    To stop: «Σταματάω/σταματώ» [stama'ta.o] (uncontracted)/[stama'to] (contracted) < Byz. Gr. «σταματῶ» stamatô < Classical Middle voice «ἵσταμαι» hístamai of v. «ἵστημι» hístēmĭ --> to make stand, set up, take position, bring to a standstill (PIE *stisteh₂- (reduplicated athematic present of the root *steh₂-), to stand, set).
  5. Saluton Banned

    Moscow, Russia
    finish - заканчивать (za'kanchivat)
    stop - останавливать (osta'navlivat), прерывать (prery'vat, = to adjourn, interrupt)
  6. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I don'think this is a side-thread: is there something in the finish word that refers to making complete, or contains the word 'complete', as in Greek (telos)?
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  7. ancalimon Senior Member


    to finish (doing something) : bitirmek

    to stop (doing something) : kesmek (to cut), bırakmak (abandon, drop)... or simply "durmak" (to stop) but this is usually used alone.

    If you are planning to continue doing the thing after you stopped doing it then:

    ara vermek (literally: to give space): to take a break
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  8. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Just to be sure, could these verbs be used in the translation of the following English sentences?

    - I stopped mowing the lawn when I heard that dinner was ready.

    - I finished mowing the lawn and then put the lawnmower away.
  9. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)

    to finish: perf. dokončiti (verbal prefix do- + impf. končiti = to finish < konec = finis);

    Czech uses the prefix do- with many verbs to avoid the verb 'to finish'.
    e.g. impf. mluviti = to speak; perf. domluviti = to finish speaking; or dokončiti (svou) řeč = to finish (one's) speech;

    to stop: perf. přestati (verbal prefix pře- + impf. státi = to stand);

    There are some synonyms to přestati, e.g. přerušiti (= to interrupt), but přestati does NOT imply that the activity will continue.


    Řečník domluvil. = The speaker finished speaking.
    Řečník dokončil svou řeč. = The speaker finished his speech.

    Řečník (náhle) přestal mluvit. = (All of a sudden) the speaker stopped speaking. (for unknown reason, it is not known if he will continue)
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  10. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Absolutely in Greek.
    «Σταμάτησα» [sta'matisa] (1st p. sing. aorist ind.) for the former, and,
    «Τελείωσα» [te'li.osa] (1st p. sing. aorist ind.) for the latter.
  11. Saluton Banned

    Moscow, Russia
    Well, finish obviously has the same stem as final, or as the French fin, or as the Latin finire, which was obviously the origin of it all...
    Yes, they can. In my previous post, I missed the informal verb переставать (peresta'vat), which can be used in the former sentence as well. It also means to stop rather than to finish.
  12. Radioh

    Radioh Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Hi. I know I'm a little bit late. But I want to say that in Vietnamese, we do make a distinction between the two verb stop(dừng) and finish(hoàn thành). And the distinction is the same as in English, which was mentioned by Gavril in post #1. :D
  13. Nino83 Senior Member

    In Italian:
    to finish doing something = finire di fare qualcosa
    to stop doing something = smettere di fare qualcosa
  14. Radioh

    Radioh Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Is there a difference in usage between the two verb "smettere" and "finire", Nino83 ?
  15. Nino83 Senior Member

    Yes, there is.
    If one finisce/termina gli studi, it means that he completed the course of studies (college, university) while if one smette di studiare it means that he interrupted it, he left the course before completing it.
  16. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Sluta - stop - Sluta med det där - Stop doing that
    Avsluta - finish - Hon avslutade mötet med ett tack till deltagarna - She finished the meeting with a Thank You to the participants.

    Stanna - stop - Han stannade bilen - He stopped the car/He pulled up the car
    Avstanna - stop, come to a standstill - Klimatskyddet får inte avstanna - Climate protection must not come to a standstill

    Avbryta - stop, break off something - Domaren avbröt matchen - The referee stopped the game. It can either be for a break or for good, you need more information to know which.
  17. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    The sluta root is recognizable in Dutch: sluiten, 'to lock'. We only use it for locking literally, but when we add a prefix 'be-' it means 'to conclude'. That pattern resembles the semantic evolution in Latin, I guess.

    As for avbryta I am inclined to think it is a little too specific, that the 'finish' meaning is a secondary meaning. But I am not quite sure...
  18. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Hi AutumnOwl,

    What if you combine sluta with a verb, e.g., äta frukost "to eat breakfast"? Which of the two definitions in the original post would it be closer to?
  19. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Swedish also have besluta meaning to conclude, maybe borrowed from Dutch.

    Innesluta - to surround, to embrace
    Omsluta - to cover, to enclose
    These Swedish words with -sluta may have the same root as the Dutch sluiten.
    Han slutade äta frukost - He stopped eating breakfast (never eating breakfast again)
    Han avslutade frukosten med en kopp kaffe - He finished the breakfast with a cup of coffee
  20. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Same in Tagalog. Finish-Tapusin/lubusin and Stop- itigil/ihinto' but there is a case that the use of ihinto/itigil is final because of some errors done. If just for a while just add muna/pansamantala , itigil muna/ihinto muna.
  21. Dymn Senior Member

    Catalan, Catalonia
    In Catalan:
    - To finish: acabar de: vaig acabar de tallar la gespa
    - To stop: deixar de: vaig deixar de tallar la gespa

    In Spanish:
    - To finish: terminar de: terminé de cortar el césped
    - To stop: dejar de: dejé de cortar el césped

    The main meaning of both deixar and dejar is 'to leave'.
  22. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    In Chinese, generally:
    When an action reaches a defined point of completion,
    Use words with the morpheme 完.
    I finished mowing the lawn. 我割草了。

    When there is a breach or interruption in the course of an action,
    Use words with the morpheme 停.
    I stopped mowing the lawn. 我止了割草。

    There are more specific words to be used in different situations to mean "interrupt", "impede", "pause", "discontinue", "break off" etc.

    Another significant difference is that, in English, "stop" can mean:
    1. you no longer do something (e.g. I stopped talking);
    2. you prevent something from happening or continuing (e.g. I stopped his talking.)

    In Chinese, they are considered two different actions. Different verbs must be used:
    1. I stopped talking = 我停止讲话。
    2. I stopped his talking. = 我阻止了他的讲话。
  23. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    In Japanese:
    I finished mowing the lawn 私は芝を刈り終えた。watashi wa siba wo kari oeta
    oeta=inf. oeru(to finish, to end) + -ta(past tense)
    kari=inf. karu(to mow), kari is a conjugated form for linking with other verbs.
    other vocabulary: watashi-wa(I, wa standing for topic marker), siba-wo(acc. lawn)

    I stopped mowing the lawn 私は芝を刈るのをやめた。watashi wa siba wo karu no wo yameta
    yameta=inf. yameru(to stop) + -ta(past tense)
    no wo=acc. thing
    literal translation: I stopped the thing to mow the lawn.

    Of course, these expression can also be adapted to other cases, for example:
    I finished doing my homework 私は宿題をやり終えた。 watashi wa syukudai wo yari oeta
    I stopped doing my homework 私は宿題をやるのをやめた。 watashi wa syukudai wo yaru nowo yameta
  24. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I am inclined to think these are two different things - but it remains an interesting question. I keep wondering about this relationship: one seems to be to bring [an action] to a good end, the other means stopping or interrupting it, or indeed, putting an end to it, or inserting a break, "putting a ['temporary'] end to it".

    Some observations:
    - I noticed that Dansk and Norsk use 'fertig', 'ready', for example; and indeed, the best way for us in Dutch to translate it is by saying that "we are ready with the mowing of the grass" (we zijn klaar met het maaien van het gras)
    - I thought that 'finish' does not require a verb as such as in "I finished the article" (the action implied may be quite different: writing or adding pictures, or correcting, etc.), but it does suggest an action as such; stopping implies an action as such, as it only describes the end or a break in it, but the action may be rendered by means of a noun (I stopped the work)...
    Last edited: May 4, 2015

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