What is the difference between “finish” and “complete”?

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.

From wordreference :

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 wordreference :

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.

What is the difference between “finish” and “complete”?

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