How to Conjugate the French Verb 'Finir' (to Finish)

Finished with meal
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Finir means "to finish," "to end," or "to complete" and it is conjugated as a regular -ir verb in French. Regular verbs share conjugation patterns in person, number, tense, and mood. The are the second largest category of regular French verbs, making it a little easier for French students to learn each new one.

Conjugating Regular '-ir' Verbs

To conjugate finir, and all other -ir verbs, remove the infinitive ending (-ir) to find the stem (also called the "radical"), which in this case is fin-.

You will then add the appropriate simple conjugation endings shown in the table below.

While you're studying finir, consider adding similar verbs to your vocabulary. By tackling a few verbs with the same conjugations at the same time, you can learn each much faster. Some to add to your list include abolir (to abolish)obéir  (to obey)établir (to establish), and réussir (to succeed).

Simple Conjugations of the French Verb Finir

The indicative verb mood is the form of finir that you will use most often. These are the simplest versions of the present, future, and past (imperfect) tenses and they're also the easiest to conjugate and remember.

Using the chart, match the subject pronoun with the tense that fits your sentence. For instance, "I am finishing" is je finis and "we will finish" is nous finirons. Practicing these in simple sentences will speed up your ability to memorize them.

 Present Future Imperfect

The present participle of finir is finissant. This is formed by adding -issant to the verb stem.

There are a few compound tenses and moods that you can use, but we'll stick with a simple one for this lesson. To form the past tense passé composé, you will need the subject pronoun, the auxiliary verb avoir, and the past participle fini.

  • Nous avons fini le travail. We finished the work.
  • Oui, je l'ai fini. Yes, I finished it.

Used with less frequency, there are special circumstances in which you will need to know these simple conjugations of finir. For instance, when the act of finishing is uncertain—which happens often—you can use either the subjunctive or the conditional. Should you do much writing or reading in French, it's likely that you will come across either the passé simple or the imperfect subjunctive, so they're good to know as well.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

A very useful and simple form of finir is the imperative verb mood. This is reserved for those times when you want to demand that someone "Finish!" When using it, skip the subject pronoun and leave it as, "Finis !"

(nous) finissons

Meanings of Finir

Finir means "to finish," but it can take on other meanings as well. There are also two synonyms that mean roughly the same thing: terminer and achever, although the latter is a little more dramatic.

  • Qui va finir ce travail ? Who is going to finish this work?
  • Nous finissons nos études cette semaine. We are completing our studies this week.
  • J'ai terminé mon repas. I finished my meal / food.

Though finir is most often used with avoir in compound tenses as discussed, it can be used with être as well. This happens in the third person impersonal or with inanimate objects:

  • C'est fini ! - It's finished!
  • L'été est fini. - Summer is over.

More importantly, if you use finir with être when referring to a person, it means "dead" (literally or figuratively):

  • Il est fini. - He's a dead duck. / It's all over for him.

Finir and Prepositions

When we pair finir with certain prepositions, the meaning changes a little bit, though they all tend to imply a finish to something. 

Finir de with an infinitive means "to stop" or "to be done":

  • Tu as fini de nous déranger ? - Are you done bothering us?
  • Finis de te plaindre ! - Stop complaining!

Finir en means "to end in":

  • Il n'y a pas beaucoup de mots qui finissent en -de. - There aren't many words that end in -de.
  • Est-ce que cela finit en pointe ? - Does this make a point?

Finir par with an infinitive means "to end up ___-ing" or "to ___ in the end":

  • J'ai fini par déménager en Europe. - I ended up moving to Europe.
  • Il va finir par perdre sa famille. - He's going lose his family in the end.

En finir (avec / de) means "to be done with":

  • J'en ai fini avec Paul. - I'm done with Paul, I ended it with Paul.
  • Tu n'en finis jamais de te plaindre. - You never stop complaining.

Expressions With Finir

As you might expect, finir can be used in some rather useful idiomatic expressions. Here are a few that you can use to build your French vocabulary.

  • Finissons-en ! - Let's get it over with.
  • Elle a voulu en finir. She wanted to end it all.
  • Des plaintes a n'en plus finir - endless / never-ending complaints
  • Et maintenant, fini de se croiser les bras ! And now let's see some action!
  • Finir en queue de poisson  to fizzle out
  • Ça va mal finir. No good will come of it. / It will end in disaster
  • Tout est bien qui fini bien. All's well that ends well.
  • finir en beauté to end with a flourish / to finish brilliantly
  • finir en tragédie to end in tragedy