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Home / Intermediate / 5. Useful Verbs

5.3 To Finish

There are 2 verbs in Spanish that can pretty much be used interchangeably to mean ‘finish’. Although ‘acabar’ and ‘terminar’ both mean ‘to finish’, 'acabar' has a slightly wider usage.

Los niños acabaron/terminaron la tarea - The children finished/completed the task

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If you want to say something ‘got finished’ it is very common to use ‘acabarse’.

Se acabó la comida – The food got finished

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‘Acabar de’ is very useful when you want to express something that has just happened.

Acabamos de llegar a la oficina – We have just arrived at the office
Pedro acaba de salir – Pedro has just left
Acabo de terminar el trabajo – I have just finished work

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If you want to say you unexpectedly ran out of something, you can use ‘acabarsele a alguien’. Refer to our section on The uses of ‘se’ for more info on this construction.

Se nos está acabando la gasolina – We are running out of gasoline
Se me acabó el agua – I ran out of water

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