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Acabar vs Terminar

4
votes

What's the difference between Acabar and Terminar? How would you use each one in a sentence?

114316 views
updated JUL 20, 2013
posted by Chavag

11 Answers

7
votes

Its tricky. In most cases you can use both indistinguisable, but if you want to be fine, there is a little point, specially in Spain, as in South America these differences normaly get lost or change meaning.

Terminar is used as finish something you started, an action. You start an activity, and you finish it. Period. Acabar is used more as "end up", at the end of anything, you happen to be in some certain way, when the whole process is over.

"terminé la tarea" (i finished the duty) "acabo muy cansado cuando discuto contigo" (i end up very tired when i argue with you)

Of course, you could say "acabé la tarea" (sounds south american) (i ended the duty) "termino muy cansado cuando discuto contigo" (did you die?) (i terminate very...)

and you are going to be understood, but you are not going to be admired for your education wink There is also the "acabar de", that means exactly "I,you,he just"

"acabo de responder un mensaje" (I just answered a message)

Hope this helps.

updated SEP 10, 2012
posted by Pancracio
Thanks, helps me! - cheeseisyummy, OCT 27, 2009
Pncracio has given you the perfect answer! good job, pancra - 00494d19, OCT 27, 2009
2
votes

One of the courses I am following uses 'terminar'. But most reading I have done seems to use 'acabar'.

The combination 'acabar de' - 'to have just' (done something) is very useful and is not an option with terminar.

I wonder if terminar is taught more because its meaning is obvious to English speakers?

updated OCT 27, 2009
edited by Jespa
posted by Jespa
How would you conjugate 'acabar de' to mean 'to have just done...'? - Chavag, OCT 27, 2009
Btw, I found the word acabar in a book I'm reading, twice. That's why I started wondering. - Chavag, OCT 27, 2009
Sorry - I should have added '+ infinitive'. - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009
1
vote

va a acabar como ellos............"she'll end up like them".

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by 00515f39
1
vote

o va a acabar como ellos

I have no idea on that one.

Ir a + inf = going to do something

But 'va a acabar' doesn't make sense to me. 'Shes going to leave/end/finish' doesn't quite fit the rest of the sentence for me...

Oh I got it, 'or she'll end up like them.'

updated OCT 27, 2009
edited by cheeseisyummy
posted by cheeseisyummy
Oh well. I shall remain unenlightened. Thanks for all the help =) - Chavag, OCT 27, 2009
"She can't play with the cool kids or she'll end up like them." - cheeseisyummy, OCT 27, 2009
That's it cheesie...good job - 00494d19, OCT 27, 2009
0
votes

I didn't have experience with terminar, but I had exerience with completar, which is quite similar. I asked one of my Mexican house painters, "¿Cuándo vas a completar el proyecto?". He immediately said, "Mexicans don't say that. We say 'acabar'."

updated JUL 20, 2013
posted by tokyotech
0
votes

Here are the two sentences with acabar in it. I understood the first one but not the second. Maybe you can help me out.

Entonces, como si ella hubiera olvidado que acabo de mudarme, dice que el barrio se está poniendo de lo peor.

And then, as if she had forgotten that I had just finished moving (oh cool, here´s an example of what Jespa said) she said that the neighborhood was getting worse.

Ella no puede jugar con esos chamaquitos Vargas o va a acabar como ellos.

She can´t play with the cool kids or....

Thanks

updated OCT 27, 2009
edited by Chavag
posted by Chavag
"...or she is going to end up like them." Only a guess! - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009
0
votes

Acabo de determinar que acabar y terminar son prácticamente intercambiables.

updated OCT 27, 2009
edited by 00515f39
posted by 00515f39
0
votes

Thanks for the question and the answers. I was wondering the same thing myself. I heard acabar in a song, and the distinction Pancracio gave was right on the dot.

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by yvonneibe7
0
votes

I have seen both in reading too, but am not fluent enough to tell when or why the specific word was used in the sentences situation instead of the other word. I think context has alot to do with it also.

I wonder if terminar is taught more because its meaning is obvious to English speakers?

That might be true, but in my head it really throws me off as I always think of "terminate' when I see it written, but it takes me a few seconds to realize they usually mean 'finish' instead of the more harsh english version of terminate.

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by cheeseisyummy
Yes - I was exactly the same at first; but I've got more used to it now! - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009
0
votes

How would you conjugate 'acabar de' to mean 'to have just done...'?

acabar de + infinitive

Acabo de llevar a mi hermana a su casa. I just took my sister to her house.

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by cheeseisyummy
0
votes

Good question. This is sorta like empezar vs comenzar.

Based off the examples given in the dictionary, looks like they are very interchangeable, just like in english.

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by cheeseisyummy
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