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(1) Kristina stopped drinking tea ...

(2) Kristina finished drinking tea ...

(3) Kristina stopped drinking a cup of tea ...

(4) Kristina finished drinking a cup of tea ...

Are the sentences above somewhat different if they are referred to the situation in which Kristina is drinking and then, when she has finished, she has to go to bed? More precisely, which of the sentences above might be successfully ended with:

... and then went to sleep.

3 Answers 3

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Your examples using "stopped" have the feeling of her not finishing the tea - she quit with half a cup still left, or she was interrupted.

The examples with "finished" feel like she drank all of the tea then went on to do something else.

However, the phrase that feels most natural to me is:

Kristina finished drinking her cup of tea, and then went to bed.

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    Alternatively, "Kristina finished her cup of tea, then went to bed." Generally I avoid using "and" after commas, it breaks the flow of the sentence. The same applies to my omission of "drinking" - when you talk about a cup of tea, it is implicit you are drinking it. Of course, that depends on context. :^)
    – Felix Weir
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 14:57
  • I agree with both Eric and Felix, but I'll also note that in some local dialects, the formulation "... then went to her bed" is usual, and when referring to themselves people will say "I'm going to my bed now". Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 16:27
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    @JackAidley Which local dialects would that be? I've never heard it said that way. Usually the phrase "going to bed" is roughly equivalent to "going to sleep", where the focus is not on being at a specific physical bed. "...going to my bed" to me implies that one will be physically at one's bed, but not necessarily for the purpose of sleep.
    – Dani
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 17:57
  • @Dani: parts of northern England, I couldn't tell you the extent but I've heard it from people from Yorkshire mostly. Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 18:26
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"Kristina stopped drinking tea" can mean she either gave up drinking tea, or she faced some problem during drinking, so she stopped. Or in this case, she could have been in need of sleep so badly that she stopped drinking.

The correct sentence would be:

Kristina finished drinking her cup of tea and went to bed.

or rather

Kristina finished her cup of tea and went to bed.

The word then need not be used as in:

Kristina finished drinking her cup of tea and then went to bed.

Since this is a continued action (she drinks tea and goes to bed), then would make it more affirmative, and need not be used.

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With your ending added on, those for sentences each imply something slightly different to me.

(1) Kristina stopped drinking tea and then went to sleep.

From this, I infer that Kristina has been drinking tea for a while, not just one glass, but finally stopped and went to sleep.

(2) Kristina finished drinking tea and then went to sleep.

This would be confusing. Almost like she had an assignment to drink tea or something.

(3) Kristina stopped drinking a cup of tea and then went to sleep.

This implies that she did not finish the cup of tea for some reason and then went to sleep.

(4) Kristina finished drinking a cup of tea and then went to sleep.

This is closest to what I think you want, but has an, I don't know, almost detached quality to it. It sounds like something a police detective might say when reporting to his superior about what a subject under surveillance had done.

As Eric S said, "Kristina finished her cup of tea and then went to bed." sound much more natural.

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    I regard “Kristina finished her tea and went to bed” as far more natural than “Kristina finished her cup of tea and then went to bed”. Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 15:36
  • @jwpat7 yes, that works too
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 15:43

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