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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

お遊びタイム終了。

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
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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.

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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.

  • 試合を終わる sounds wrong to me. I'd use 試合を終わらせる. Also, both 試合を終了 and 試合を終わり are incomplete, but are usable if you add する/にする/etc. Finally, can you provide an example where 終わる means "last part" rather than actual "end"? – user22701 Jun 27 at 9:00
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    ^ 試合を終わる sounds wrong to me. >>「これで試合を終わります。」「授業を終わる。/終わります。(←先生が言う)」「これで会議を終わります。」「以上で発表を終わります。」とか言いますやん・・ 参考:japanese.stackexchange.com/q/5043/9831  can you provide an example where 終わる means "last part" rather than actual "end"? >> 「終わ 」じゃなくて「終わ 」のことだと思いますよ。「終わり」は「最後のほう」って意味があるけど、「終了」にはそういう意味がないでしょう。 例: ◎「戦国時代の終わり(≂最後)に織田信長が現れた。」 but not ✖「戦国時代の終了に織田信長が現れた。」◎「彼岸花は夏の終わりに咲きます」✖「彼岸花は夏の終了に咲きます」 – Chocolate Jun 27 at 10:11

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