546 - ~終わる

JLPT N4: ~終わる

In English, we say things like "finished reading," "finished washing the dishes," "finished studying," etc.

To say this in Japanese, we can attach the verb 終わる (おわる // to end; to finish) to the end of the ます-stem of verbs.

V ます終わる
to finish VERB-ing

Here's an example:

問題をすべて解き終わった人は、手をあげてください。
もんだい を すべて ときおわった ひと は、 て を あげて ください。
Please raise your hand if you have finished all of the problems.
Literally: “problem + を + all (of them) + finished solving + person + は, + hand + を + raise (and) + please.”

The phrase 問題を解く (もんだいをとく) means "to solve a problem."

The -ます form of 解く (とく // to untie; to unravel; to solve) is 解きます (ときます), so it's ます-stem is 解き- (とき-).

Then we attach the verb 終わる (おわる // to end; to finish) to that:

問題を解き終わる
もんだい を ときおわる
to finish solving a problem
Literally: "problem + を + finish unraveling / finish solving."

Pretty straightforward grammar point, yeah?


What kind of verbs can we use with ~終わる

Well, generally speaking, it will attach to verbs that describe continuous actions that have a beginning and an ending.

In other words, it is used with verbs expressing actions that take some time to complete. For example, it takes some time to solve a problem, so 問題を解く (which we just saw above) is an appropriate phrase to use with ~終わる.

It also takes a while to read an entire book, so the following sentence works, too:

マザー・テレサの伝記は1日で読み終わりました
マザー・テレサ の でんき は いちにち で よみおわりました。
I read Mother Theresa’s entire biography in one day.
Literally: “Mother Theresa + の + biography + は + one day + で + finished reading.”

An example of a verb that would not be appropriate in most cases is 座る (すわる // to sit [down]). It only takes a moment to sit down, so we wouldn't use it with ~終わる. However, we could use "momentary verbs" such as 座る if we are describing the actions of multiple people.

For example, this sentence is fine:

全員が席に座り終わったら、授業を始めます。
ぜんいん が せき に すわりおわったら、 じゅぎょう を はじめます。
Once everyone has taken their seats, we’ll start the lesson.
Literally: “everyone / all members + が + seat + に + if/when (they’ve) finished sitting, + lesson + を + start.”

座り終わる (すわりおわる // to finish sitting [down]) would probably sound strange if we were just talking about one person's action because "sitting" is an action that can be completed very quickly. But when we are talking about many people sitting, as in the example above, it becomes a group of actions that does take some time... so 座り終わる sounds OK.

Personally, I never considered this rule about not using ~終わる for "momentary verbs" until I was doing research for this lesson. So maybe you don't need to worry about it too much. ^^


One last example, and then you'll be finished reading this lesson:


食器を洗い終わったら、倉庫の片づけを手伝ってください。
しょっき を あらいおわったら、 そうこ の かたづけ を てつだって ください。
After you’ve finished washing the dishes, please help me clean up the storage room [the warehouse].
Literally: “dishes + を + if/when (you’ve) finished washing, + warehouse / storage + の + tidying up + を + help (and) + please.”


Hope you enjoyed this lesson. We actually have quite a few N4 lessons that involve attaching verbs to ます-stems, so I recommend getting accustomed to this practice sooner rather than later.





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