This was the finish of their lives

I recently read this sentence and it appeared as odd to me.

For me, finish as a noun is closely related to races, as in finish line. In that context, it furthermore carries a sense of goal. I think that wouldn't be appropriate if someone's life is terminated. I think end of their lives would be more appropriate.

What is your opinion?

  • 1
    What makes you think this is about someone's life being terminated? – Lambie Feb 27 '20 at 15:22
  • 1
    More context and saying if the author was the native English speaker would help. – Jan Feb 27 '20 at 15:28
  • More context needed. Unless a phrase is a well-known idiom, they are only recognisable and understandable in context. – Astralbee Feb 27 '20 at 15:54
  • Definitely need more context. For example, if this was about them being in an actual race, one in which they showed a very extreme effort at the end of the race, that might be the (best) finish of their lives. Or something might have made their lives shine out dramatically, thus providing the finish (on the face of) their lives. And so on. – puppetsock Feb 27 '20 at 18:02
  • Or they might have tasted a beer, wine, gin, etc, which lingered very nicely in the mouth. – Michael Harvey Feb 27 '20 at 18:19

There's no need to focus on specific "unusual" contexts such as when someone's life is terminated. All you need to know is that we almost always use end rather than finish to refer to the final part of any time-span, sequence of actions, etc...

It may be worth noting that the most common words in the relatively uncommon sequence the finish of the XXXX are race, stroke, work, first, surface. I think it's significant that the fifth most common sequence (the finish of the surface) is a significantly different sense - referring to the final coat of varnish / glaze / etc. on some treated / layered surface, or perhaps the appearance of that surface after polishing or sanding smooth (or even just the feel of, say, fabric after ironing with spray starch).

TL;DR: Stick to the end of XXXX. Forget about ever using finish in such contexts.

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