How to say “end up doing”: Italian grammar lesson

Lesson 200

Key Takeaways

Learn how to use the Italian verb finire to express “end up doing” something with different prepositions and their nuanced meanings.

  • The verb finire follows the third conjugation pattern –ire and uses avere as an auxiliary in its transitive form.
  • When combined with prepositions like di, per, con, and a, the meaning of finire changes.
  • Use finire per + infinitive or finire con + definite article + infinitive to say “end up doing something.”
  • Finire a + infinitive is used to express a situation that arises as a consequence, often negative, of a previous action.
  • Remember, finire a uses the auxiliary essere, unlike the others which use avere.

Quick facts

How is the verb "finire" conjugated in the presente tense?

"Finire" is conjugated as "finisco, finisci, finisce, finiamo, finite, finiscono" in the present tense.

What auxiliary verb does "finire" use in its transitive form?

In its transitive form, "finire" uses the auxiliary verb "avere" (to have).

How do you say "I have finished" in Italian using "finire"?

"I have finished" in Italian is "ho finito" using the verb "finire."

Can "finire" be used with prepositions? If so, which ones?

Yes, "finire" can be used with prepositions such as di, per, con, and a, each altering its meaning.

What does "finire di" imply in Italian?

"Finire di" means to finish doing something, such as "abbiamo finito di lavorare" (we finished working).

What is the meaning of "finire per" in Italian?

"Finire per" translates to "end up" doing something, like "finirete per non passare gli esami" (you’ll end up not passing your exams).

How does "finire con" differ from "finire per"?

Both mean "to end up," but "finire con" is often followed by a definite article, like "finirai con l’essere licenziato" (you’ll end up getting fired).

What does "finire a" convey?

"Finire a" expresses ending up in a situation, usually negative, such as "finirai a fare l’elemosina" (you will end up begging).

Which auxiliary verb is used with "finire a"?

The auxiliary verb "essere" (to be) is used with "finire a," as in "siamo finiti a dover chiedere" (we found ourselves having to ask).

What's an example of "finire" changing meaning with a preposition?

"Finire di lavorare" means to finish working, whereas "finire per non passare" means to end up not passing.

Audio images

Finiremo per comprare una casa in campagna.
Devo finire questo lavoro entro domani.
Lui finisce sempre per dimenticare le chiavi.




Finisco per fare tutto da solo.

I end up doing everything by myself.

Alla fine siamo andati al cinema.

We ended up going to the cinema.

Nonostante i piani, è finito per restare a casa.

Despite the plans, he ended up staying home.

Alla fine ho finito per comprare quel libro.

I ended up buying that book.

Dopo molte discussioni, hanno finito per accettare la proposta.

After many discussions, they ended up accepting the proposal.

My Thoughts

What is finire in Italian?

The verb finire follows the third regular conjugation pattern –ire and, in its transitive use, takes the verb avere (to have) as an auxiliary.

Have a look at the tables below, in which you will see the conjugation of the verb finire (to end or finish) in presente (present) and passato prossimo (present perfect tense).

Presente Passato prossimo
io finisco io ho finito
tu finisci tu hai finito
lui finisce lui ha finito
noi finiamo noi abbiamo finito
voi finite voi avete finito
loro finiscono loro hanno finito
Finiremo per comprare una casa in campagna.


Devo finire questo lavoro entro domani.

How to use the verb finire with prepositions?

The verb finire can be used on its own with a direct object or with different prepositions, namely di, per, con, and a.

Depending on the preposition that follows finire, the meaning of the verb can change.

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Let’s have a look at some examples:

Hai finito la torta?

Have you finished the cake?

Finalmente abbiamo finito di lavorare.

We finally finished working.

  • Finire + con, per, a: To end up doing something

Finirete per non passare gli esami se continuate così.

You’ll end up not passing your exams if you go on like that.

Finirai con l’essere licenziato se non parli con il tuo capo.

You’ll end up getting fired if you don’t talk to your boss.

Sono finita a fare la cameriera in un ristorante di Londra.

I ended up being a waitress in a restaurant in London.

As you can see, the verb changes its meaning depending on the preposition it goes with, so always be careful which one you choose!

Lui finisce sempre per dimenticare le chiavi.

How to use to end up doing?

As we’ve explained above, to say to end up doing something we use the construction finire per + infinitive, finire con + definite article +infinitive, orfinire a + infinitive.

  • Finire per and finire con + definite article, have the same meaning but the first version is probably more used in spoken Italian. They both translate as to end up + -ing verb.

Sono certo che finiranno per divorziare.

I am sure they will end up getting a divorce.

Probabilmente finiremo con il trasferirci all’estero.

We will probably end up moving abroad.

  • Finire a is used to express a certain situation that has arisen as a consequence, generally negative, of a previous action or behavior. It can translate as end up doing something or find oneself doing something.

The difference in meaning is slight, but it exists. This construction is used with the auxiliary essere (to be) and not avere like the others.

Finirai a fare l’elemosina se non trovi un lavoro.

You will end up begging if you do not find a job.

Siamo finiti a dover chiedere un prestito per aggiustare la macchina.

We found ourselves having to ask for a loan to fix the car.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions


What is the verb to finish in Italian?

"Finire" is an Italian irregular verb meaning to finish and is one of the 100 most used Italian verbs. It is ranked 19th on the list, making it a fairly commonly used verb in the Italian language.

Does "finire" take "essere" or "avere"?

Verbs such as "cambiare" and "finire" can take either the auxiliary verbs "essere" or "avere", depending on their grammatical usage. Consequently, it is important to know the function of the verb in order to determine the correct auxiliary.

Italian word of the day
Dalla crisi, molte aziende hanno chiuso.
Because of the financial crisis, many companies shut down.
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2 Responses

  1. In the quick test there is sometimes insufficient information to assre one selects the answer said to be correct i.e. several possible right answers.

    1. E’ vero, a volte vanno bene anche due risposte. Ho cambiato le domande. 🙂

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