While inspecting some song lyrics, I noticed this sentence:

J'ai fini par te pardonner.

(Je te pardonne chanté par Maître Gims)

I'm confused to see the preposition par before an infinitive, because all I've seen in the past is à and de.

If I were to write that sentence, I would have written it as:

J'ai fini de te pardonner.

with the meaning "I have finally forgiven you".

I feel strongly that par is in fact correct, but I have no idea why it's right and why de is wrong. Also what is the usage of par here?

  • 2
    Both are correct. Finir par means to end up doing smth. So the first sentence means "I ended up forgiving you" or "After some time I finally forgave you" Mar 28, 2019 at 9:06
  • about me de iBug aux erreurs: Je suis seulement un étudiant du français et je fais souvent des erreurs.
    – LPH
    Mar 28, 2019 at 9:58
  • 3
    Even better: je suis étudiant EN français. And even better than better: j'étudie le français
    – Greg
    Mar 28, 2019 at 10:15
  • 3
    Note: There are much better songwriters than Maître Gims if you want to learn French, or, for that matter, listen to good music. ;) Mar 28, 2019 at 15:47
  • @EricDuminil Learning French is real, music is only appetite. and I do have some more experience in other Romance languages that I suppose may help to some extents
    – iBug
    Mar 28, 2019 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


The meanings are different:

Finir par means this is the last action you will take in a process of multiple actions you had to follow, or from multiple options that you had to choose from.

J'ai fini par te pardonner means "after coping with other feelings, in the end, I have forgiven you".

You could extend the explanation that way:

Au début, j'étais tellement fâché que je ne voulais plus te parler, mais j'ai fini par te pardonner.

Finir de means the action has been fully completed. J'ai fini de te pardonner sounds a bit weird as pardonner is usually not something that you decide to start and that should take you a while to complete, so as to mean "I started forgiving you some time ago, and now I have finished this action and you are forgiven".

Another example with another verb:

J'ai fini de réparer ma voiture.

means you have completed the action of repairing your car

J'ai fini par réparer ma voiture.

means you had the option to have it repaired in a garage, or even to not repair it at all, but in the end you decided to repair it yourself.

  • 1
    Does this equal "finish to" vs "finish with"?
    – henning
    Mar 28, 2019 at 14:18
  • 1
    J'ai fini de te pardonner sounds to me as "I'm tired of regularly having to forgive you, so I'll stop doing it". Mar 28, 2019 at 15:45
  • 1
    @henning Not really. Maybe a closer approach would be "Ended up" like I ended up forgiving you.
    – Pierre P.
    Mar 28, 2019 at 16:03
  • @henning Just noticed the exact same sentence has been given in the OP's post comments. Sorry for the redundancy :)
    – Pierre P.
    Mar 28, 2019 at 16:04
  • 1
    @AzirisMorora I didn't spot that, so it's welcome redundancy. :)
    – henning
    Mar 28, 2019 at 16:09

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