Choice of infinitive for "We have just finished...."

SteveC1Kwiziq community member

Choice of infinitive for "We have just finished...."

Why is "Nous venons de terminer....." considered an incorrect answer while "Nous venons de finir....." is listed as the correct answer? In other lessons "terminer" is used to mean "finished"? Thanks.
Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Steve,

To answer your original question the verbs 'finir' and 'terminer' are synonyms and can be interchanged most of the time. Terminer is considered more literary so it maybe why it was the preferred option.

If you want to say you have finished something you will use either:

J'ai fini mon repas/j'ai terminé mon repas ( I have finished my meal)

If you want to say something has finished/ended, you will use 'finir' or 'se terminer'

Le film a fini à 10 h / Le film s'est terminé à 10h. ( The film finished at 10 o'clock)

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
I believe because "terminer" requires an object. The sentence "Nous venons de terminer nos devoirs" would be correct. But without the object "nos devoirs" there's something missing. -- Chris (not a native speaker).
SteveC1Kwiziq community member
Claus, thanks for the response. I believe the original sentence was "We have just finished breakfast", so there is a direct object. Wordreference.com shows both verbs as transitive verbs so, as I understand it, they would both require a direct object. I had always thought that terminer and finir were interchangeable but I could very well be wrong which was why I posed the question. :)
JimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Steve, Let's hear from Aurélie or Laura but I think that you would need to use se terminer in this context to make the sentence equivalent to using finir. For example: We have just finished breakfast --> "Nous venons de finir le petit déjeuner" or "Nous venons de nous terminer le petit déjeuner" Alan (Non-native speaker)
GC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
I would also like to know the answer to this question as I got it wrong for the same reason.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Jim, the answer "nous venons de nous terminer le petit-déjeuner " is definitely incorrect because it has two objects "nous" and "le petit-déjeuner ". The verb "terminer" is not reflexive. -- Chris.
JimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Chris, I would like to (23rd Nov.) receive an input from one of the ladies because I did not claim to be sure about my proposed usage. However, are you saying that the verb se terminer does not exist? Alan
SteveC1Kwiziq community member
I asked my French tutor, a French native speaker living in France, about this. She indicated that although both were technically correct, most people would use "finir" in this context. "Terminer" implies more finality than "finir", and therefore wouldn't be the first choice when indicating you've finished a meal.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Jim, of course se terminer exists, as in: "les vacances se terminent demain." But you can't have two direct objects for one verb. "Nous nous terminons le petit-déjeuner" would be "we finish us the breakfast". It is either: 1) Nous venons de terminer le petit-déjeuner 2) Le petit-déjeuner vient de se terminer. -- Chris.

Choice of infinitive for "We have just finished...."

Why is "Nous venons de terminer....." considered an incorrect answer while "Nous venons de finir....." is listed as the correct answer? In other lessons "terminer" is used to mean "finished"? Thanks.

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