I found the following sentence in an online book:

As my colleague Jan Zrzavý says, science cannot do without animal testing, but those who do that testing, should perhaps know that they’ll finish in the fiery pits of hell.

I want to ask whether the use of word finish is appropriate. I'd personally replace it with end up. If this is indeed better, I am interested in a grammar justification why is it the case.

I am also questioning the last comma in the quoted sentence.

  • 2
    I agree that the last comma shouldn't be there. That finish is okay, though, in my opinion. For example, "To finish in hell is the greatest tragedy that can befall a human being", "Maybe Kate would be saved or maybe she would, like himself, finish in hell, ..." can be found in Google Books. Whether it's felicitous or not is another matter, which is beyond me. Jan 23 '16 at 12:46
  • I would say "end up" too. In some languages including my own, the two verbs are translated with the same word. The name Jan Zrzavý sounds Czech, Polish or otherwise Eastern-European (forgive me for not being able to locate it more accurately). Maybe it was just a mistake of his, due to English not being his mother tongue. Just a thought. Jan 23 '16 at 13:10
  • 1
    @laureapresa Jan Zrzavý is just a random Czech biologist. It is no wonder you weren't able to locate him. There is also a (much more famous) painter of the same name. The book was translated to English on the cheap and self-published on the web. It is almost certainly an unproofed version, that is the explanation for any inadequacies.
    – user7610
    Jan 23 '16 at 13:40
  • 3
    Idiomatically, end up is far more likely than finish or plain end in the cited context, but both those alternatives are at least "credible". The writer overuses commas throughout - sometimes they're just "unnecessary", other times they're wrong. Jan 23 '16 at 14:02
  • Oh I wasn't trying to locate the person, but his nationality based on his name. I guess it worked out though! And if the book has such a "shady" and unofficial history, I wouldn't question the placement of commas :) If anything, it would make me think of copyright laws Jan 23 '16 at 17:07

To change "finish" to "end up" would give a broader context to the testers' eventual demise; they will simply "end up" there by means that are not specified. To "finish" there specifically implies that their testing will lead them there - their tests will begin with them on Earth and finish with them in the fiery pits of hell.

I'd also remove the second comma in that quote (the third in your question), it's superfluous and unnecessary.

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