Imagine I am playing a game with some people. Every players is done with doing his/her actions/turns. So the game is basically over, but as very last step e.g. the game-master has to declare the winner.

Do I say to him "Could you please finish the game?" or "Could you please end the game?"

The main part of the game is over, in which the players can act, but the game as a whole is not over before e.g. the game-master declares the winner.

Note: I am not interested in rephrasing the question, so please focus on which word is the correct one. If you know a better one, that's okay, too!

Edit: I am still interested in further answers! :)

  • 2
    I would ask him to complete or wrap up the game.
    – Davo
    Apr 20, 2017 at 20:35
  • 1
    "Finish" means to complete, so that would be the applicable word in this case. "End" means to terminate or stop, which would not necessarily include declaring a winner.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 24, 2017 at 7:20
  • @fixer1234 That's an explanation I was looking for. You should consider to post this as answer ;)
    – Artery
    Apr 24, 2017 at 9:54

2 Answers 2


"Finish" and "end" are one of those unfortunate pairs of words for which the dictionary isn't much help in differentiating the difference. The words are similar, and the dictionaries use one word to describe the other in an attempt to have as broad a definition as possible.

There is at least a clue, though, in the definition of "finish". Merriam-Webster captures the key distinction in the definition to bring to completion. That would be the applicable word in this case.

"End" can imply that. One definition is to come to an end, as in "The meeting will end at noon", which implies that noon is when all of the business is expected to be concluded. But the word's meaning is just to terminate or stop. In the dictionary example, "end at noon" doesn't really address whether the business will actually be completed, that's just the scheduled termination time. In your sentence, "end" would not necessarily include declaring a winner.

  • Thank you very much, this was an answer I was looking for!
    – Artery
    Apr 24, 2017 at 18:15

Both "finish" and "end" work fine. It might be important to know that depending on your tone of voice, this can come across as a bit aggressive/impatient as written (to a native American English speaker, anyway).

  • "depending on your tone of voice, this can come across as a bit aggressive/impatient" Should I use another word then or why could this sound aggressive/impatient?
    – Artery
    Apr 20, 2017 at 21:38
  • The problem is not with "finish" or "end", but with "could you please". This is almost always a fine way of asking for something, but in the particular case of things that are time-sensitive requests like "could you please finish the game" it is idiomatically a slightly more aggressive/less polite way of asking.
    – noah
    Apr 20, 2017 at 21:53
  • Okay, thanks. In my case it doesn't matter, but COULD YOU PLEASE :P tell me a more polite way of asking?
    – Artery
    Apr 20, 2017 at 21:59

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