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  5. "Ellos van a acabar la comida…

"Ellos van a acabar la comida."

Translation:They are going to finish the food.

July 27, 2013



So I take that "acabar" and "terminar" is interchangable?


Can I add a third? These three verbs always confuse me. Completar vs Terminar vs acabar. Which do I use for what situation?

Merci Beaucoup! [Hope you are all not afraid of a little French! :) ]


Terminar and Acabar are interchangeable. The verb Completar is used for finishing a puzzle, a download, a collection, a race. In short, I guess Completar in spanish is basically the same as 'to complete' in english.


Acabar has more of a connotation of "just finished" than terminar.


I believe the idea the Spanish sentence is conveying is that they finished off the food. If you ask someone if there are potatoes and they've been finished off they will say "se acabó". You can use this verb to mean finishing an action, such as "acabaron de comer", they finished eating, but in the Spanish sentence at hand because the food is mentioned I believe the focus is on that the food was finished off and not that they stopped eating.


Is "acabar" both "to finish" and "to finish up/off?" Or is there a reflexive form for the "to finish off/up?" version? Reading this sentence, I wasn't quite sure if it was "They are finishing the food." - as in finish preparing the food to be served - or "They are finishing up the food." - as in they are eating it all. Is there a way to separate the two ideas? Or is it strictly contextual? Thank you!



I see that your level on Duolingo is much higher than mine. But, it has been a year since your post and I'm wondering if you have learned more about "acabarse" since you posted this. I still am learning about it.

In my thinking, in English, there probably isn't a lot of difference between "they finished the food" and "they finished off the food" if it is said in the same context and sentence structure, I believe that adding the "se" as you have above makes the verb transitive and can then give more of the meaning of "finish off". On Spanishdict.com, they show an example with "se": se ha acabado la comida = there's no more food left. This leads me to believe that your phrase "se acabó" needs to be translated more like "It was finished off" (past tense), whereas the above sentence is not reflexive as evidenced by the fact that the subject is "they", not "it", and there is no "se" present.

I am also seeing that you need to add "con" after the verb to give this meaning when adding a noun like "la comida" after "acabar" (not acabarse). Example: Acabaron con la tarta = They finished off the cake.

On the other hand, Spanishdict.com gives a sentence where "acabar" comes after "para" and also means "finish off": me quedan solo un par de horas para acabar este cuadro = it'll only take me another couple of hours to finish off this painting. So, I'm not sure if the position after the "para" makes a difference or not.


I'd also like the answer to your questions, NEGenge: "eading this sentence, I wasn't quite sure if it was "They are finishing the food." - as in finish preparing the food to be served - or "They are finishing up the food." - as in they are eating it all. Is there a way to separate the two ideas? Or is it strictly contextual?"


Yes if one put Acaba de in front of any verb it translates as " I just" ie Acaba de hablar I just spoke or talked.


So why is they're going to end the meal wrong


How about parar. Does it also means stop?


Yes, but it's for a different meaning of "stop".

Here's a good discussion of parar/acabar: http://spanish.stackexchange.com/questions/1004/different-words-for-stop


Aaaaaaahhh! A little French! A lot of French would be fine, but I'm afraid of a little French! AYUDAME!



Couldn't "la comida" also be translated as "the meal"? I got that wrong.


It's accepted now (18 Sept. 2013).


Yes, "la comida" can also mean "the meal". You can submit a "my answer should be accepted" report to Duolingo.


Gracias! (Sorry, I don't see how to get the initial exclamation point to appear)


If you're on Windows, enable the International Keyboard. http://symbolcodes.tlt.psu.edu/accents/codeint.html. Then you can get upside down ¡ and ¿ and ñ by adding the ALT key. And you can get accents by hitting ' then e etc. The tricky part is typing quotes, but you get used to typing a space after the quote to get the quote to appear.


Barbara thank you so much for this link. I have been so frustrated because I could not use correct punctuation!


Wow! You got up to level 17 having to click on the accented letters? That's dedication!


If you have a Mac, just press option (alt)-1.


I learned from past mistakes that a ¨de¨should always accompany acabar. but de is not used here!


I think acabar de is used when you want to say "just" done (verb) something, as in Acabo de llegar. = "I just arrived."


Amartya, maybe this reference can help you somehow:



Thanks man! That was really helpful...Daniel was right in his logic too...thanks :)


You are welcome, Amartya! :-)


Thank you so much. It seems every time I think I've got something, I soon find out I don't. However, this time I'm sure I've got it thanks to this chart. I sure hope so!


I don't understand if they mean to finish preparing the meal or finish eating it! I wrote finish eating, which was not accepted. I understand that is wrong if it means finish preparing, but not if it means finish eating the meal.


I wonder if I am the only one who does not hear ellos verus ellas usually as the initial word or even worse nosotros and nosotras. It really irks to have everything correct except for that!


Not the only one. I mishear that (or she mis-says that) all the time.


I put "They are going to end the meal", but it wasn't accepted.


Finish eating it or making it, or can it mean both?


Can "acabar" mean both finish and just as in "acabo de llegar"?


Yes. Here's a great list: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/VRBSPREP.HTM

It lists "acabar" three times:

  • acabar + -ndo: to end up (doing something)
  • acabar de + inf.: to have just (done something)
  • acabar por + inf." to end up by


Similar question as Huysan. What is the difference between ACABAR vs. TERMINAR? Thanks


Can it mean "they finish to prepare the food"? I know you would say in another way, but before reading this page of comments, I was understanding "finish the food "= finish to prepare the food.


No, "finish to prepare the food" is nonsense. Maybe you meant “...going to finish preparing the food."?


They are going to finish the food


Acabar la comida could also translate: "to split up the food."


spanishdict says that the "split up" meaning is for relationships. "We split up", "Hemos acabado".

Can it also mean "divide" or "apportion" the way it would have to in the context of food?


They rejected finish off but say the correct answer is finish up. Where I'm from we say finish off not finish up. Both should be acceptable.


a while back in the comments i read that both terminar and acabar have de following them. But in this case not?


"Terminar" and "acabar" have "de" following them when the next thing is another verb, "acabar de comer". They don't have "de" when they are followed by a noun.


Thank you for the above explanation. I was completely lost. Should hv noticed that acabar was followed by a noun and not by a verb. Thank you.


I thought "de" followed acabar but now we have an example using "la". I find these "de", "a", etc all very confusing. What do they mean and how does their use affect the sense of a sentence? I am fairly sure earlier examples of this sentence used "de".


See my answer to mbkbennett's similar question about "de".

Here's a page with many verb+preposition combinations that explains how the preposition affects the verb: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/VRBSPREP.HTM


How can you get the International Keyboard for Windows 10. The earlier instructions do not work. I ended up changing my language to Spanish. Not ready for that!


Finish the food?


I put "They are going to finish the food" and got it wrong twice, when that's how it translated earlier in the lesson. After I put the answer Duo suggested, which is "They are going to finish up the food," it said, "Another translation: They are going to finish the food." That was my first answer! Gahhhh!


Acabar means "to finish off " according to the Collins Spanish Dictionary, so why is it corrected to "finish up"?


Maybe you could say, "finish UP the food" ?


The word the wasn't given in the option box


I said "they are going to finish the dinner" and was marked incorrect. the proper phrase was "they are going to finish the lunch". how do we get lunch from the phrase above?


i thought acabar could mean to split up as well. Why doesn't that work in this context?


The "split up" meaning of acabar only applies to ending a relationship with someone. http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/acabar


Perfectly acceptable and same meaning in England


They will finish the food! ✔️

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