Done vs. Finished

The longer I teach English, the more I find myself re-learning long forgotten grammar rules. One such rule is done vs. finished. At Catholic school, we drilled “Cakes and pies are done. People are finished.” You never hear of steak being medium finished or well finished.

“Teacher, I’m doneeeeeeeeee!” Usually I imagine my students as talking cakes in the oven announcing that they no longer need baking. It was exhausting correcting them. Now it’s hilarious! They know I’ll ask them what kind of food they are and I’m greeted with “Teacher, I’m [their name] fried chicken!” or “Teacher, I’m [their name] cake!” A class of nine five year-olds telling you that they are food because they have finished their work is the funniest, if not the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Native English speakers usually don’t differentiate between done and finished (hellI normally use done for everything), but I want my kids to learn the proper way of speaking; especially if they want to study abroad. I also can’t shake the voices of my grade school teachers chanting, “Cakes and pies are done. People are finished.”


About travelingenglishteacher

I want to see how many things I can cross off my travel bucket list in five years.
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One Response to Done vs. Finished

  1. Barbara Papile says:

    Oh Seano your grandmother would be so proud of you. Only went to Catholic school for a year but she drilled the finished vs. done rule long before I ever got to St. Marys.

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