I saw both verbs here and there, and both seems to mean "to finish" (according to Google translate).

What are the differences between them?

2 Answers 2


끝나다 is an intransitive verb meaning that something has ended 'of its own accord' - e.g. 영화가 끝났다 - the film has finished.

끝내다 is a transitive verb meaning someone has finished something - e.g. 그 일을 끝냈다 - (someone) finished that job.

This is a somewhat general pattern when using -나다 and -내다: -나다 is used when something happens on its own, or we aren't talking about the cause; -내다 is used when something is made to happen.

  • To make sure I understood: 일이 끝나요 - The work is finished. 일을 끝내요 - Someone [probably me, or someone I am speaking about, depending on the context] finished the work.
    – Taladris
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 8:52
  • @Taladris that's about right - your examples don't use '았' to show the past tense, but that might be implied. While 여섯 시에 일이 끝나요 would literally mean "work finishes at 6 o'clock", if you are talking about your work it might still be translated as I finish work at 6 as that's more natural English. Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 7:02

Maybe this rule can be helpful: (1) 이/가 + 끝났다, (2) 을/를 + 끝냈다.

Add: 내가 끝냈다 is a correct sentence, because actually the sentence has an implied, invisible object. For example, 내가 (공사를) 끝냈다.

  • Please elaborate on how the rule works with more usage examples. We don't encourage one-liner answers.
    – user7
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 5:12
  • This is a good additional point - you could link it to the way that a sentence with '이/가' but no 을/를 is likely to contain an intransitive verb, while a sentence with 을/를 would have a transitive verb. However I think you can still say '내가 끝냈다', meaning I finished (it), with an implied object. Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 6:27
  • 1
    @topomorto Thanks for your comment. I will add the information about implied objects.
    – JSong
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 6:29
  • Do let me know when you edit your answer with more details.
    – user7
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 7:31

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