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Acabar or Terminar? What is the difference?




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Do you know how to use the verbs ACABAR and TERMINAR?


In many contexts, these two verbs are synonymous, but not always. In this lesson, I'm going to give you some examples so you can understand the subtle differences between these verbs.



ACABAR E TERMINAR


1- When we use these verbs in the sense of getting to the end or completing something, they are synonymous. For example:

Mariana acabou seu dever de casa. (Mariana finished her homework.)
Mariana terminou seu dever de casa. (Mariana finished her homework.)
O curso vai acabar semana que vem. (The course ends next week.)
O curso vai terminar semana que vem. (The course ends next week.)
O seriado acabou. (The show is over.)
O seriado terminou. (The show is over.)

.

2- We also use the verbs ACABAR and TERMINAR to indicate the outcome or result of something. For example:

Jogo de futebol sempre acaba em briga. (Soccer games always end up in a fight.)
Jogo de futebol sempre termina em briga. (Soccer games always end up in a fight.)
O evento acabou em festa. (The event ended up in a party.)
The event ended up in a party. (O evento terminou em festa.)

3- The two verbs are also used to say that a relationship has come to an end. For example:

Eles terminaram o noivado. (They ended their engagement.)
Eles acabaram o noivado. (They ended their engagement.)

TERMINAR


1- Still talking about relationships, we should use the verb TERMINAR when we don't say what ended. For example:

Mariana terminou com José. (Mariana broke up with José.)
Eles terminaram. (They broke up.)

When I say that “ela terminou com ele”/ “she broke up with him” or “eles terminaram”/“they broke up,” I'm not saying what ended, but it is implied that I'm talking about the relationship.


2- We also use the verb TERMINAR in the sense of “canceling,” especially when we're talking about a contract. We don’t use the verb ACABAR in this context. For example:

A empresa decidiu terminar o contrato com o banco. (The company decided to terminate the contract with the bank.)

ACABAR:


1- The verb ACABAR is commonly used to say that you have just done something.

In this case, we use the verb ACABAR + the preposition DE + the main verb. For example:

Mariana acabou de chegar ao trabalho. (Mariana has just arrived at work.)
José acabou de acordar. (José just woke up.)
Ana acabou de terminar o dever de casa. (Ana has just finished her homework.)

2- We also use the verb ACABAR in the sense of ruining or doing harm. In this case, we use the verb ACABAR + the preposition COM + noun. For example:

Pegar muito sol acaba com a pele. (Getting too much sun ruins the skin.)
Aquele sapato acabou com meus pés. (That shoe ruined my feet.)
A chuva acabou com meu penteado. (The rain ruined my hairstyle.)

3- We also use the verb ACABAR + gerund to express the result of something. For example:

Eu saí cedo de casa, mas acabei chegando atrasada porque tinha muito trânsito. (I left home early but ended up arriving late because there was a lot of traffic.)
A reforma acabou custando o dobro do previsto. (The renovation ended up costing twice as much as expected.)

To summarize:


The verbs ACABAR and TERMINAR are synonymous when we say that something has come to an end or has been completed. In other contexts, these verbs are not synonymous.


The verb ACABAR is more common and has more different uses.


That's it, everybody! Now you know how to use the verbs ACABAR and TERMINAR.


Now it's homework time! Write a comment below using one of these verbs.


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Até a próxima!


Your teacher,


Virginia


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