Are You Finished or Are You Done: Which One Is Correct?

The debate has been on as to what is the right thing to say between “are you finished” and “are you done“, and it could continue if nothing is done about it. 

While these two phrases share similar meanings and can be easily mistaken for the other, there’s a need for you to know that they’re different in some way, both speech-wise and in context.

However, you might’ve been tired of the chase between the two phrases and needs to know where to stand. On that note, I will be discussing in detail everything concerning this topic, including sentence examples that show how to use them. Keep reading for more!

Are You Finished or Are You Done: Which One Is Correct?

Both are you finished and are you done point to the same linear meaning which is something that has been completed.

The truth of the matter is that there’s no actual wrong or right one between saying are you finished or are you done? Nevertheless, my judgment will be drawn from the phrase which commands more preference in its contextual use. 

Based on the contextual use, “are you finished” fits the best as it is the favorite to be used both in speech and in written format.

That is to say when it comes to the meaning behind these two phrases, are you finished sounds more relatable in when being used in both speech and written terms than are you done?

In fact, in scenarios where are you done is used in speech over are you finished, it comes out bad and unnatural.

This makes are you finished the correct one, but it still measures up are you done in some respects, so drawing the line between the best among them still remains inconclusive.

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Are You Finished Meaning?

When someone asks “are you finished?” he or she is asking about something that’s expected or has already come to an end. In this scenario, the said activity which was asked after has no intentions of continuing.

This is more like asking someone if they’re washed which is another way of saying are you finished. Figuratively, this means that the person engaging in the activity could be drained.

Let’s say you just finished drinking a cup of water and someone asks you “are you finished?”; this means they’re asking you if you are through with taking in the water. If you say yes, it means that the water in this situation is not going to be drunk again if you really “finished” it. 

Similarly, this line has been used in so many instances to refer to human beings and other tangible things to show that they no longer exist, at least not in the capacity or quantity in which it was previously seen.

Examples of this are evident in asking someone if they’re finished with eating their food or that money has finished. The use in sentence can be explained in lines such as:

  • Are you finished with the food?
  • Are you finished with all the money?

Are You Done Meaning?

In this definition, “done” is an adjective. Additionally, it is the past tense of the verb “do.” If “have” is used before it, it can be a present perfect verb. 

When someone says something is done, it also means that the thing has been completed and is no longer going. It could also mean that something or somebody is ready, or prepared.

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This is evident when you ask someone are you done, following their attempt to wear tight skinny jeans, or asking someone are you done to mean querying the person if he or she is through with cooking or rather preparing a meal. 

In this context, are you done is a query that seeks to know is something is in a good shape or condition like food, fixing the garden or watering the horticulture plants which are inside the room. 

These lines below depict how the phrase can be used in a sentence.

  • Are you done cooking?
  • I’m done with the meal, are you done with the dessert?
  • I heard wearing those crop tops could be hard, are you done?

What Is the Difference Between “Are You Finished” and “Are You Done”?

Both “are you finished” and “are you done” point in the same direction, but their differences spring from the kinds of verbs that are used alongside the phrases and also to which audience is it notably used.

Based on these two factors, the irregular verb “have” is often used with done while finished goes with “be” or “am” which can either act as main or auxiliary verbs. 

According to Merriam Webster, “are you finished” works well on paper as it sounds pretty good in speech, but “are you done” lacks enough merit to look good on paper but sounds good in speech.

This is because its widespread use was initiated in a bid to burden of sounding too formal while speaking. This is another staggering difference between the two.

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Likewise, the opinion of the native English speakers matters when trying to differentiate between the two of them.

While the natives root for “are you finished” as the right way of asking if someone is through with something, they frowned at “are you done” calling it a refurbished version of the former one.

This makes “are you finished” a more standard phrase according to originating English speakers, while “are you done” is the evolved version that conveys the same message.

Lastly, I would love to mention the sentiment of Theodore Bernstein concerning this topic as another differentiating factor. According to him, “people are finished, food is done”.

What this means is that “are you finished” is a question relative to humans while “are you done” does well when it is being used to refer to things, especially food. 


This is the point where I draw the curtain on this topic that seeks to end the debate of the right one to use between “are you finished” or “are you done”.

Like other studies done between these two, the debate of the best still lives on due to individual preference and the influence of native speakers of English. What this article tried to do however, is to bring these two phrases in different lights and also to point out their placements in contexts.

I’m hopeful you got value in the course of this concise piece of article. Do well to let us know what you think about our standings between these two phrases in the comment box below.

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