I am finished vs. I have finished


Is there a difference between these two sentences and are they both grammatically correct?


'Wait until I am finished washing the dishes' vs. 'Wait until I have finished washing the dishes'

asked Jun 06 '13 at 06:57 Ernest Estrella New member

8 answers


Grammatically, both are correct, but they are linguistically different.  The first sentence does, in fact describe the speaker as in the state or condition of being finished, specifically with the task of washing the dishes.  This construction is the more passive of the two.  The second version describes more accurately the completion of the task as the point of reference for the listener.  To put it another way, the first sentence commands the listener to wait until the speaker is in the condition of being finished, the sencond says to wait until the action is completed.

link answered Jun 06 '13 at 11:19 David Hopcroft New member


TrekaOct 21 '14 at 18:19

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Hmm, there is a lot of confusion evident in the many conflicting answers your question has received.  In fact, I am finished and I have finished are very very similar, and both sentences are grammaticaly correct despite what others have said.  While Ahmad was not correct overall, he was correct to point out that in the first sentence finished is a participial adjective whereas in the 2nd it is a past participle, but both forms are absolutely 100% correct.  I am finished  emphasizes the current state of being finished, whereas I have finished emphasizes the importance of the past action of finishing.  In some situations, the difference between these two ways of expressing it would be negligible, but that is, in fact, the difference.  At the risk of repeating myself, both are grammatical but the nuance/emphasis is a bit different.   

link comment edited Jun 07 '13 at 11:06 Shawn Mooney Expert

They are both correct. 

link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 07:35 TyJBrown13 New member

The first one is incorrect. If you link 'finished' with a linking verb such as 'am', then 'finished' is an adjective. If it is linked with the auxilliary verb 'have', then it is a past participle verb (forming the present perfect tense with 'have'). You are talking about an action (past event continuing into the present at a specific future time); you are not talking describing yourself by using an adjective.

link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 10:18 Ahmad Barnard Expert

The second one is more finite, but closer to american sign language, a bit more curt and to the point. You could use either. I would choose the second.

link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 11:41 RaChelle New member

The 2nd one is correct. You have used the perfect tense for a completed action. I would never use the first one myself but it could work if you include 'with' between finished and washing. ie Wait until I am finished with washing the dishes. 

link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 20:43 Katejo New member

both are correct . If you are talking about an action (like I'm finished work), you could use either

link comment answered Aug 17 '15 at 02:58 Gabriele Gnagaroc Lumassi New member

It's all about a difference between American (I am finished/done) and British (I have finished) English.

link answered Jun 06 '13 at 23:05 Elin Tomov Contributor


TrekaOct 21 '14 at 18:39

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