Acabar is usually a difficult verb to study in Spanish, however one which comes with a lot of rewards.
Acabar actually means “to complete” or “to finish,” however it might convey a couple of totally different meanings relying on the way it’s used and also you’ll in all probability see it very often.
With explanations of the verb’s varied makes use of, examples and recommendations on training, this information will allow you to get the dangle of acabar, and have enjoyable doing it!
The 4 Principal Makes use of of Acabar in Spanish
Acabar is most commonly used to express having just done something in the recent past. Depending on the preposition used with acabar, the meaning can change.
Here are the four different ways to use this verb and how the meaning changes with the way it’s formed.
When a verb is reflexive, it means that the action of the verb remains with the subject. For example, if a concert ends or your perfume runs out, the reflexive form of acabar must be used. For example:
El concierto se acabó. (The concert ended.)
On the other hand, if you finish your homework, it isn’t your homework itself that has ended, but rather you’ve finished it, so you’d use the regular form of acabar:
Yo acabé mi tarea. (I finished my homework.)
In the reflexive form, the verb is conjugated the same, only an object pronoun is replaced before the conjugated form of the verb or after the infinitive.
Below is a conjugation chart for acabarse in the preterite form (its most common use):
Here are some examples of the use of acabarse:
Los boletos se acabaron hace una semana. (The tickets sold out a week ago.)
Él se acabó cuatro días antes de su cumpleaños. (He died four days before his birthday.)
La película se acabó cuando la pareja se reunió. (The movie ended when the couple reunited.)
2. Acabar de + Infinitive
Acabar de + infinitive is used to describe something that just happened in the recent past.
The English equivalent of acabar de + infinitivo would be “to have just finished doing something.”
To use acabar effectively in this situation, the preposition de must be used. In English, the past participle of the verb is used, but in Spanish an infinitive is used instead.
The present tense of acabar de + infinitivo is used for describing something that just happened in the immediate past.
These events are so recent, that they almost happened in the present tense.
To speak of things that happened further in the past (the past perfect tense in English), the imperfect past tense is used in Spanish.
Conjugating Acabar de + Infinitive
Conjugating acabar de in the most recent past requires the present tense of the verb. This table shows this conjugation using comer as the infinitive to say “just ate”:
Conjugating acabar de in the more distant past requires the imperfect past tense of the verb. This table demonstrates this form, so as to say “had just ate:”
Here are some examples of how it can be used in the present and imperfect past tenses.
Yo acabo de escribir. (I just finished writing.)
Ella acaba de comer. (She just finished eating.)
Tú acababas de leer. (You had just finished reading.)
Ellos acababan de jugar. (They had just finished playing.)
3. Acabar por + Infinitive
When using acabar with the preposition por, the meaning changes slightly.
Acabar por + infinitivo is used to express finally doing something or ending up doing something that perhaps wasn’t initially expected.
Because it refers to something that happened in the past, the preterite tense is used.
Conjugating Acabar por + Infinitive
In the case of acabar por, the preterite tense is always used, as shown below to say “finally ate”
Below are some examples of how to use acabar por + infinitivo in the context of ending up doing something and doing something:
To finally do something:
Yo acabé por llegar a mi casa. (I finally arrived at home.)
Usted acabó por bailar conmigo. (You finally danced with me.)
To end up doing something:
Nosotros acabamos por ir en tren. (We ended up taking the train.)
Ellos acabaron por comer pollo en lugar de res. (They ended up eating chicken instead of beef.)
4. Acabar con (algo)
Acabar con algo means “to have ended,” “to have ruined” or “to have destroyed” someone or something.
While the preposition con literally translates to “with,” in this case it simply translates to “to have ended something.”
This form of acabar is also used in the preterite tense.
Conjugating Acabar con (algo)
In the case of acabar con, the preterite tense is most often used, as shown below:
Listed here are some examples of how to use acabar con to describe having just ended, ruined or destroyed a person, place or thing:
Ese tiro acabó con el juego. (That shot ended the game.)
Tú acabaste con nuestro matrimonio. (You destroyed our marriage.)
La lluvia acabó con nuestro picnic. (The rain ruined our picnic.)
5 Quick Tips for Fully Learning Acabar
1. Create Flashcards
Flashcards are always a go-to technique for learning verbs.
Try writing out different conjugated forms of acabar on one side of the card and the English translation on the back. The more you practice, the faster you’ll learn how to differentiate between the various uses of acabar.
In no time, you’ll be able to use acabar de, acabar con and acabar por like a native speaker. Don’t worry if you don’t know about all those phrases yet—keep reading and we’ll explore them all in depth.
2. Write Letters
This is a great way to practice the use of acabar. If you mention anything that you’ve just completed, expect to use this verb in your letter.
If nobody you know speaks Spanish well enough to be involved in your practice, find a Spanish-speaking penpal on InterPals.
3. Watch the Information
For those who watch the information in English, you’ve doubtless heard the anchor say “this simply in,” when sharing breaking information.
To share latest information in Spanish, it’s doubtless that the anchor might want to use the verb acabar in some unspecified time in the future. That’s why, if you wish to hearken to acabar being utilized in a pure setting, watching the information is a superb alternative.
4. Learn a Newspaper
Simply as information anchors want to make use of the verb acabar to share breaking information, journalists in all conditions are doubtless to make use of the verb as properly.
Strive studying a newspaper in Spanish and highlighting each time you see the verb acabar. Not solely will you study what’s happening on the earth, however you’ll enhance your Spanish grammar within the meantime.
5. Be taught with Genuine Movies
The Web is large, and it has lots of nice content material in Spanish. Search for music movies, comedy skits, vlogger channels or anything that piques your curiosity.
Movies made by and for native audio system will allow you to hear a lot of frequent verbs in motion, together with acabar.
For a extra centered strategy, you possibly can additionally use a digital immersion platform.
FluentU is one instance that permits you to seek for movies that use the verb acabar, or manually add it to your customized vocabulary lists. After you watch a video utilizing the phrase acabar, you’ll be able to evaluation what you’ve discovered with flashcards and customized quizzes.
Hopefully you have got a greater understanding of how you can use acabar now, in addition to some sources the place you’ll be able to study extra.
Examine the conjugations and attempt to use the verb naturally as a lot as potential. You’re already in your approach!