The verb finire
Do you want to learn how to say “end up doing…” in Italian? First, you will need to know the verb finire, whcih as you probably know, in Italian means “to end” or “to finish”.
It 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/finish) in the present and in the passato prossimo (present perfect tense).
|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|
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. Let’s have a look at some examples:
- FINIRE + Direct object: To finish something
Hai finito la torta?
Have you finished the cake?
- FINIRE+ di: To finish doing something
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!
“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 / finire a + infinitive.
Finire per and finire con (+ definite article) have exactly 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 behaviour. 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.