It's over, done, finally finished-Acabar is the Spanish verb you need.

It’s over, finished, ruined or I just did that! Acabar is the Spanish verb you need!

Have you ever gotten stuck trying to express sentences like these in Spanish…?

  • “I just went to the store.”
  • Or how about… you or someone else FINALLY did something that they have been putting off for a long, long time!
  • How about you ended up doing something that you had not planned on doing. “We ended up going to the movies because someone gave us free tickets.”
  • You need to know how to say that something is FINISHED as in; it’s OVER, destroyed, ruined, done forever! You broke up with your partner 馃槵.
  • You need to say that something has run its course – it’s over! What no more episodes of Grey’s Anatomy!!!
  • Or what about something that is “all used up” . There’s no more milk- it’s all used up!

Acabar is the verb you are looking for! Acabar can be a tricky verb – it has subtle differences depending on how you use it.

You can use it with prepositions, reflexively or all by itself and its meaning changes.

If you’ve been learning Spanish for a while, you’ve heard this verb acabar in various forms and have most likely noticed the various meanings depending on how it’s used.

Watch this Quick Tip lesson and learn 4 uses of acabar to uplevel your Spanish!

Acabar alone is synonymous with the verb “terminar”. They both mean to end, to finish, to complete.

Let’s look at the examples below:

  • Ayer acab茅 el libro. Yesterday, I finished the book.
  • La fiesta acab贸 a las 3 de la madrugada. The party ended at 3 in the morning.
  • Mi hijo acab贸 la tarea. My son finished his homework.

HOWEVER…once you use it with the prepositions “de,” “por,” or “con” the significance changes. And the same is true when acabar is used in its reflexive form – acabarse

Let’s look at how it changes…

4 Uses of ACABARMeanings and Examples
1. Acabar de + infinitivo To have just done something in the very recent past:

– Acabo de ver la pel铆cula nueva de Top Gun Maverick.
I just saw the new movie Top Gun Maverick.
2. Acabo por + infinitivoWhen you finally do something that you’ve been waiting to do for a long time. You’ve been putting it off and you finally got to it:

– Acab茅 por ordenar mi estante de libros.
I finally ordered my new book shelf.

When you end up doing something that you were not planning on doing.
– Acabamos por ir al concierto porque alguien nos regal贸 unos tiquetes.
We ended up going to the concert because someone gave us tickets.
3. Acabar con + infinitivoTo put an end to something:

– 脡l acab贸 con su novia.
He broke up with his girlfriend.

To have ruined or destroyed something:

– No pudimos surfear porque la lluvia acab贸 con nuestros planes.
We could not surf because the rain ruined our plans.
4. Acabar(se) = Relexsive formTo run its course
– La serie de “The Office” se acab贸 hace 10 a帽os.

To use up / to run out of something:
– Se acab贸 la leche. The milk is used up.

To die in the sense of wearing out, depletion of energy:
– El perro ten铆a 16 a帽os se fue acabando poco a poco durante el 煤ltimo mes 馃ゲ.
The dog was 16 years old and it slowly dies during the last month of its’ life.

隆Te toca a ti! Let’s practice…

Grab a piece of paper and quiz yourself.

Ejercicio #1:

  1. Which form of acabar to you use when you want to express that something is “used up”?
  2. Imagine you just broke up with your boyfriend- and you want to express that it has come to an end. Which form of acabar do you use?
  3. To express that you have just gone on vacation. Which form of acabar do you use?
  4. You have finally cleaned out your drawers. Which form of acabar do you use?

Want more practice? Download the lesson notes and take the Quiz at the end of the lesson.

Answers to Exercise # 1:

  1. Acabar(se)
  2. Acabar con
  3. Acabar de
  4. Acabar por

Give it a try- write an example of one of these uses of Acabar in the comments below.

About The Author

2 thoughts on “It’s over, finished, ruined or I just did that! Acabar is the Spanish verb you need!”

  1. OMG this is hard, lol. I know how to use regular acabar but it’s hard to remember how to use por, de, and con with it! This is a great explanation, though, thank you.

    1. Con mucho gusto Heather! And yes, it is hard to remember all the uses. Just focus on nailing one new use first, once you have that one, you can move on to the others! Keep up the great work improving your Spanish paso a paso!

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