A very well-written piece, on the difference between “finish” and “complete” – the former ending by exhausting, the latter ending by fulfilling.
Answer by Shreeya Dwivedi:
In many contexts, the meanings are pretty much the same, but you might hear finished more often than completed in casual conversation. The word completed can convey some sense of accomplishment. In the context of a race, it might work when the race is a major achievement. You might see completed in more formal contexts, such as a paper on education, or a course syllabus.
fin•ish /ˈfɪnɪʃ/ v.
to bring or come to an end or to completion
to use completely
to overcome completely; destroy or kill
to put a finish on (wood, metal, etc.)
And still from:
com•plete /kəmˈplit/ v.
to make whole, entire, or perfect
to bring to an end ;finish
Complete is to be wholly made up. Finish is to exhaust, or expended. So in their use in a sentence, they can be used from that opposite direction to convey the same meaning: as in a cup being half filled or half empty.
One can complete his shopping when one has filled the shopping bag with all items to be bought.
One can finish shopping when one has exhausted the items in the shopping list.