What's the Difference Between Complete and Finished?

No English dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between complete and finished*.

However, in a recent linguistic conference held in London, England, and attended by some of the best linguists in the world, Samsunder Balgogin, a Guanese, was the clear winner.

His final challenge was this: "Some say there is no difference between complete and finished. Please explain the difference between complete and finished in a way that is easy to understand."

His astute answer: "When you marry the right woman, you are complete. But, when you marry the wrong woman, you are finished. If the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are completely finished."

His answer was received with a standing ovation.

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*(This is not accurate, of course. My favorite dictionary, the American Heritage, defines "complete" as Having all necessary or normal parts or steps; ended, concluded; brought to a finish. It defines "finished" as highly accomplished or skilled; doomed to death or destruction; no longer useful. Which adds nicely to the joke, which is certainly made up. The name "Samsunder Balgogin" was not found in Google as I am adding this to Jumbo Joke -- but it surely will be once this posts!)

Posted November 5, 2012 8:00 AM

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