Exceptional Expressions For Everyday Events
Finish is a word that has many classroom uses but that can also add color and precision to writing or speech. In school, students need to finish a test, finish an assignment, finish lunch, finish one task before they move on to another. In this sense, finish is a verb that refers to the completion of an activity.
Finish can also serve as a noun, and it is found in a variety of interesting phrases and expressions. One might notice the sparkling finish of the paint on a new car, or the scratched finish of an antique wood table. A “photo finish” would be a very close race in which the winner could only be determined by examining a photo of the last moment. Pie with ice cream is an excellent finish to a delicious meal.
- How is ending a task different from completing it?
- How do you know if you’ve finished your work?
- How does it feel to achieve a hard task?
The Spanish Connection
Finish comes from the Middle English word fenys, which is related to the Latin word finire. In Spanish there is the word finito, an adjective meaning “finite.” At a glance, finish and finito look like cognates, but they are actually false cognates. The Spanish word for finish is terminar. Terminar is the cognate of terminate, a synonym of finish. In English, terminate is a more academic word. In this case, knowing the Spanish word terminar helps ELL students learn the more advanced word terminate. There are also content specific words related to terminate, such as terminus in electricity, or bus terminal.
- The phrase “to finish off” could be used for a thing or a person. A diner might finish off the last bite of dessert. The player of a video game often tries to finish off, or annihilate, opponents.
- The idioms “It’s a wrap!” and “Wrap it up!” come from the movie industry. At the end of the day or of filming the director will call out “It’s a wrap!” to let everyone know they are finished. The exact origin of these phrases is unknown. Some people think this use of the word wrap is a “backronym” for wind, reel, and print. Others speculate that these phrases were based on the last task of the day, covering and putting away the equipment.