Let's say you are READING AT THE MOMENT, but you are PLANNING TO PLAY a computer game (Starcraft).

1) 'I just have to finish this article off first before I play Starcraft.


2) 'I just have to finish this article off before I play Starcraft.'

NOTE: Google said, ''finish off'' or 'finish sth off' is the last thing/activity you want to finish before you do another. BUT, as you can see I have included ''first''--to add clarity stating the sequence of my action. Although I am not sure, and this is not based on grammar rules, because I haven't come across this one yet, that is why I am asking.

Which is more grammatical #1 or #2?

  • I would not use "finish off this article" to mean finish reading. To me, "finish off" connotes the completion of a thing you are either making or destroying; so if you said that you need to "finish off" an article, I'd assume that you were writing it, not reading it. Jan 29, 2018 at 16:33
  • Hello there, how about ''I just have to finish reading this article off before I play Starcraft.'? (Hmm, seems like I have to put specific verbs in a sentence) is that ok now?
    – John Arvin
    Jan 29, 2018 at 16:55
  • Just leave out the "off" altogether: "I have to finish reading this article before I play Starcraft." You might possibly use "finish off" if the article is a reading assignment (in that sense you are "terminating" the obligation to read it), but even then I'd say, "I have to finish off my homework before I play Starcraft," because the thing you're terminating is the assignment to read the article, not the article itself. Jan 29, 2018 at 17:08
  • There is something missing that I wanted to clarify but I can't explain it. I get what you are trying to say. 'Finish off'=termination of something(activity/obligation) completely right? What if, I change it into 'finish up', would that be still a similar case?
    – John Arvin
    Jan 29, 2018 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


#2 is better. Saying "first before" is redundant: if you say you have to finish the article off first, then it's implied that you're doing that before playing the game. And vice versa. Either "First" or "before", but not both.

Honestly, you could simplify it even further, by replacing "finish off" with just "finish":

  1. "I just have to finish this article, before I play StarCraft."
  2. "I need to finish this article first, then I can play StarCraft."
  • Your #2 is like already at my disposal, and thx to you I have re-capped it, I will use it for future stuff. However, 'finish off' is a new thing for me and I wanna use it--- to add emphasis. Of course I'm gonna use the 'finish' only, but when things are a little bit hectic(like a busy workload) I think 'finish off, would be better. Hope you're catching my drift here man.
    – John Arvin
    Jan 29, 2018 at 13:31

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