Is “just finished to” right?


I want to know if is right to say the following sentence:

I just finished to read the book.

If it’s not right, or another way is better, why?


Posted 2014-11-20T22:01:43.420

Reputation: 183



There are four (or five) types of clauses which may act as complements to English verbs, distinguished by the complementizer (if any) which introduces the clause and the form of the verb which 'heads' the clause. (Sometimes the complementizer may be omitted; where that is the case I have put it in parentheses.):

  • (that) ... finite verb (past- or present-form) - "I see that he is running away*.
  • wh- form ... finite verb - "I see where he is running."
  • (no complementizer) ... gerund (-ing form) "I see him running away."
  • ... (to +) infinitive "I see him run away." "I want him to run away.
  • for ... to + infinitive - "I hate for him to run away." (Some grammarians treat this is as a full construction and the ∅ ... (to +) infinitive type as a reduced version.)

Each English verb 'selects' some of these as acceptable and rejects others. There is no pattern by which you can predict which types will be acceptable; you have to learn each verb's complements one-by-one.

Finish takes only gerund and wh- clauses as complements:

I just finished reading the book. I just finished what I started yesterday.

StoneyB on hiatus

Posted 2014-11-20T22:01:43.420

Reputation: 176 469

1Can you give examples of the other three possibilities? I think that would be helpful. – J.R. – 2014-11-20T22:19:25.857

@J.R. There you go, with the list fixed, too. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-11-20T22:28:09.870

1It's possibly worth adding that conversely, it's perfectly acceptable to say "I just started to read the book." Of course, you can also say "I just started reading the book." – Ben Hocking – 2014-11-21T00:27:43.447

You wrote "Sometimes the complementizer may be omitted". I think it could help to point out that sometimes the complementizer must be omitted. – snailplane – 2014-11-22T15:36:32.143

@snailboat You're right, and I'll fix that. Is that the case with any complementizer other than for? And should for ... to be distinguished as a fifth construction, distinct from ∅ ... (to)? I'm of two minds. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-11-22T15:49:13.947


This is the correct way: "I just finished reading the book."


Posted 2014-11-20T22:01:43.420

Reputation: 121

1You're correct, although it may be worth adding that we could strike the word reading, and the sentence would still mean the same thing and be grammatically correct: "I just finished the book." – J.R. – 2014-11-20T22:17:36.723

Good point. Your way is more common anyway. – ian-campbell – 2014-11-20T22:22:07.910

3Your answer doesn't explain why it's correct or why the version in the question is incorrect, so it's not very helpful. – David Richerby – 2014-11-20T22:44:44.923

1@J.R. But it might not mean the same thing: it might mean "I just finished writing the book" - or editing or burning it. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-11-22T15:54:28.087

@Stoney - True, you'd need context to determine the meaning of the word "finished" in that sentence. But it could be done, as in: "Have you read A Study in Scarlet?" Answer: "Yes, I just finished it." – J.R. – 2014-11-22T17:53:26.043

I've learned 3 languages without ever learning the grammatical jargon that only serves to confuse. 'Gerund', 'helping verb', 'complementizer', it's better to just listen and learn the way people say things rather than get bogged down in the grammatical jargon that doesn't help. – ian-campbell – 2014-11-23T19:22:48.783


Maybe, I didn't explain with precision. My questions is about the "finished to read" or "finished reading", don't about the "just".

Thanks a lot for all answer.


Posted 2014-11-20T22:01:43.420

Reputation: 183