This question is not easy to google up. Suppose you ran out of jam, and your daughter asked you to buy some. You want to ask your wife if they finished the jam, how would you ask in an every day English (informal)?

Besides, does "did we finish the jam" sound natural?

  • 2
    Did we finish the jam is fine. Also: Is the jam gone? Do we need more jam? Do we need to buy jam? Should we put jam on the list? ...
    – Jim
    Jan 4, 2014 at 19:58
  • Thanks Jim. Does "did we use up the jam?" sound natural?
    – learner
    Jan 4, 2014 at 20:04
  • "But why is the rum gone?" :-)
    – godel9
    Jan 4, 2014 at 20:34
  • 1
    Yes, "Did we use up the jam?" also sounds quite natural.
    – Jim
    Jan 4, 2014 at 21:21
  • 1
    "Have we run out of jam?" "Are we out of jam?" Jan 5, 2014 at 5:33

1 Answer 1


Yes, "Did we finish the jam?" is perfectly natural-sounding.

Other possibilities:

Did you eat the last of the jam? [if you want to know if that person specifically finished it]
Is there any jam left?
Did we finish off that jam from last week?
Is the jam gone? [but be prepared for Pirates of the Caribbean quotes]
Did we use up the jam?

As J.R. noted, the "use up" phrasing is good for an ingredient - something you buy in a jar or a bag. It generally wouldn't be used for something you cooked.

Did someone use up those potatoes I bought last week?
Did someone finish that potato salad I made Friday?

Are we out of jam? [informal]
Have we run out of jam? [slight less informal]
Do we need to get more jam? [depending on your household, the answer to this could be "yes" even if the existing jar is still half full]

  • 1
    They're all good, but I esp. like "use up". That's particularly suitable for anything bought in a jar, or used as an ingredient to something else. I don't think I'd be as likely to say, "Did we use up that potato salad?" but I might say, "Did we use up the last of those baked potatoes?", particularly if I knew someone used some of those potatoes to make a new batch of potato salad.
    – J.R.
    Jan 5, 2014 at 13:09
  • Could you add Shor's answer to yours please? ""Have we run out of jam?" "Are we out of jam?" – Peter Shor". I would love to see J.R.'s enlightenment incorporated into the answer but that might be too much to ask. Googlers will be happier if you do!
    – learner
    Jan 5, 2014 at 13:37
  • 1
    @learner - There are so many ways to ask if the jam's all gone that it would be hard to put them all in one place. "Any jam left? Is the jam jar empty? How much jam is left? Do we need more jam? Should I put jam on the list? Have we 86'd the jam?" (That last one is slang in the restaurant business, and wouldn't be used in too many households. But I worked in a kitchen for three years, so even that oddball question sounds natural to me.)
    – J.R.
    Jan 5, 2014 at 21:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .