Finché and affinché are two Italian words that many learners confuse, perhaps because their spelling is very similar.
So, I thought it was a good idea to write an article to explain the difference between finché and affinché.
One of the things that confuse learners the most about finché is the negation non.
Do I have to use it all the time or not? Well…
Finché can be used in two different ways in Italian.
The first way is to indicate an action that happens as long as another action happens at the same time.
When finché has this meaning, it’s usually translated with as long as in English, and it doesn’t require the negation non after it.
a. Finché c’è il sole possiamo restare in spiaggia
As long as there’s the sun we can stay on the beach
b. Finché respira, c’è speranza
As long as he breathes there’s hope
c. Puoi restare finché vuoi
You can stay as long as you wish
The second way in which finché is used in Italian is to indicate something that can’t or must not happen until something else happens. When finché is used in this way, it’s followed by the negation non, and can be translated as until in English.
a. Non ti muovere finché non te lo dico io
Don’t move until I tell you so
b. Non venire al lavoro finché non sarai completamente guarito
Don’t come to work until you’ve completely recovered
As you can see all these sentences are in the negative form. However, the same logic applies to affirmative sentences. In this case, finché indicates an action that must be done until something else happens.
c. Resta lì finché te lo dico io
Stay there until I tell you the opposite
d. Stai a casa finché sarai completamente guarito
Stay home until you’ve completely recovered
Affinché is used to indicate the purpose you want to reach. It always requires the subjunctive and in English it could be translated as in order that, so that.
a. Te lo sto dicendo affinché tu possa prendere la decisione giusta
I’m telling you this so that you can make the right decision
b. L’ha fatto affinché tu potessi avere il lavoro
He did it so that you could get the job
Now that you know the difference between finché and affinché, why don’t you try and make some sentences? Feel free to post them in the comments section below.
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