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Using acabar/terminar + [infinitive/present participle] = to end up doing something in Spanish (perífrasis verbal)

Learn how to say "to end up doing something" in Spanish

In Spanish we can express "To end up doing [something]" in 4 different ways:

 

Acabar por + infinitivo

Acabar (conjugated) por + Infinitivo

 

Terminar por + infinitivo

Terminar (conjugated) por + Infinitivo 

Have a look and listen to the following examples:

Ella era tan exigente que acabó por regalarle un diamante.She was so demanding that he ended up buying her a diamond.

Después de 10 años juntos ella terminó por dejarle.After 10 years together she ended up leaving him.

Notice how preposition "por" always follows "acabar/terminar" in the examples above.

We can use the same verbs in a different way and the meaning does not change:

 

Acabar + present participle

Acabar (conjugated) + Gerundio/Spanish present participle

 

Terminar + present participle

Terminar (conjugated)+ Gerundio/Spanish present participle

For example:

Carlos acabó llorando debido al estrés en el trabajo.Carlos ended up crying because of stress at work.

Laura terminó obedeciendo a su padre a pesar de la discusión.Laura ended up obeying her father despite the argument.

Notice how in these examples above there is no preposition at all and the conjugated verb is followed by a present participle (not an infinitive). This verbal periphrase can be used in different tenses. Have a look and listen to the following examples:

En mi relación con Luis, siempre acabo cediendo yo.In my relationship with Luis, I always end up compromising.

He acabado por apuntarme a esa clase de yoga los martes.I've ended up signing up for that yoga class on Tuesdays.

Terminarás por convencerme de esa idea tan loca.You will end up convincing me to go along with that crazy idea.

All these structures are interchangeable.

Be careful not to mix them up by using infinitive instead of present participle, or the other way round.

Acabé por comprando ese vestido tan caro.
Acabé por comprar ese vestido tan caro.
I ended up buying that expensive dress.

Terminó darle el dinero que pedía.
Terminó dándole el dinero que pedía.
She ended up giving him the money he was asking.

See also Acabar de + [infinitive] = to have just done / just did something in Spanish (perífrasis verbal)

 

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Examples and resources

Laura terminó obedeciendo a su padre a pesar de la discusión.Laura ended up obeying her father despite the argument.
Después de 10 años juntos ella terminó por dejarle.After 10 years together she ended up leaving him.
Carlos acabó llorando debido al estrés en el trabajo.Carlos ended up crying because of stress at work.
Ella era tan exigente que acabó por regalarle un diamante.She was so demanding that he ended up buying her a diamond.
En mi relación con Luis, siempre acabo cediendo yo.In my relationship with Luis, I always end up compromising.
He acabado por apuntarme a esa clase de yoga los martes.I've ended up signing up for that yoga class on Tuesdays.
Terminarás por convencerme de esa idea tan loca.You will end up convincing me to go along with that crazy idea.
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