I don't think this is a duplicate . . . So can someone tell me if there is a difference between the two? I know they both mean end, but are they interchangeable? I came across this sentence


Which I would interpret as "game time is over", but could 終わり have been used instead? Thanks everyone :)

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    終了 is more "official" to my ears than 終わり. I'm not sure about all instances but in the above sentence they are interchangeable. – Ninj0r Oct 2 '15 at 5:58

There is a clear difference -- the word "class".

「おわり」, as I hope you could tell from the distinct "kun" sound, is an originally Japanese word. We had this word when Japanese was still merely a spoken language (and we never knew there existed another country).

「[終了]{しゅうりょう}」, as the "on" pronunciation would suggest, is a Sino-loanword. It came from China later on together with tens of thousands of other words.

The two words have the same meaning but 「終了」 is more formal, technical and official than 「終わり」」. This is the Golden Rule when you have an originally Japanese word and a Sino-loanword with the same meaning.

One might find this odd, but this is the same in English. Latin-origin words should sound more formal, technical and official than their English-origin counterparts. 'finish/terminate' vs. 'end', 'converse' vs. 'chat', etc. The list is simply endless for both Japanese and English.

In your example, the two words are interchangeable. In longer sentences, one would have to change other words as well if you switched between 「終わり」 and 「終了」 to maintain the same level of formality throughout the sentence.


The two are interchangeable in your situation, so you can say お遊びタイム終わり, as well. But there are several minor gaps you should mind.

To start with, as everybody says, 終了 sounds more formal than 終わり.

Another (fairly subtle) difference is that 終了 can be used in place of the verb's ending forms for the sake of brevity, but 終わり is only allowed to be a noun, that is:

○ 試合を終了 (to end/ending/ended a game)
× 試合を終わり
○ 試合の終わり (end of game)
○ 試合を終わる (end a game)

But the actual difference in meaning is, 終了 can only translate "up" "over" end and not for "the last part" end. The Sino-Japanese words for "the last part" is 末尾 or 最後.

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