I am wondering if it is grammatically correct to say this.

I have heard it a couple of times and was just wondering. I know that the correct way to ask this question is in present perfect, "Have we finished?" but I'm wondering if it is also grammatically correct to say it this way.


Are you using it to mean "Have we completed what we were doing?" If so, it's grammatically correct — and in fact is preferred to a competing construction, "Are we done?"

That said, it's also a bit ambiguous. For a lot of English speakers, especially non-Americans, to be finished means to be ruined, to have no chance of further success. It is primarily an American usage to use it synonymously with to have finished. And even for Americans, depending on context, a sentence like "We're finished" might mean either of those two things. If your business just burned down, you might reasonably look at your partner and say, "We're finished," meaning that you will not be rebuilding the business. On the other hand, if you and your partner have been working together on a project and you've just completed it, you might also then look at her and say, "We're finished."

In either case, the grammar is correct. In the sense you're asking about, finished would literally mean in the state of having completed. In the other sense I've described, it's simply a passive form of finish.

  • Actually ruined in that sense is more of an Americanism — we usually say bankrupt or insolvent over here, at least nowadays. – Will Crawford Feb 16 '18 at 4:20
  • @WillCrawford Bankrupt and insolvent are sort of narrow, though — they really only apply in a business context. But for example, when an athlete has a career-ending injury, or gets eliminated from a tournament, one might say she's finished. It's a bit of a callous way to describe it, but it's not uncommon. Similarly, when a member of government is exposed in a spectacular scandal, we might say he's finished. I would also say ruined in similar contexts, but I am American. Hadn't realized that was unique to us. – spoko Feb 16 '18 at 14:52
  • Well, historically we might have said Alas, I am undone! (ripe for adult humour). I wasn't actually disagreeing with the notion of saying finished in that context, just that in my experience ruined is less common to the right of the Pond. Sorry :o) – Will Crawford Feb 16 '18 at 14:55
  • Fair enough. I appreciate that, since I hadn't actually ever heard it was the case. – spoko Feb 16 '18 at 14:56

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