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Complete vs. Done: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
"Complete" implies fully finished or whole, whereas "Done" generally means finished or concluded, often with an emphasis on the cessation of action.
Complete vs. Done

Key Differences

"Complete" suggests that all parts are present and nothing is missing, indicating wholeness or entirety. "Done" is often used to indicate that an activity or task has been concluded, regardless of the degree of completeness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023
The word "complete" can imply a thoroughness or perfection, as in completing a project with all details attended to. "Done," however, may simply mean that one has finished an activity or that something has come to an end.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023
In usage, "complete" often carries a sense of fulfillment, as in completing a journey or a course of study. "Done," in contrast, is commonly used in everyday speech to indicate that an action has been performed or a task has been accomplished.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023
"Complete" can also serve as an adjective, describing something as whole or fully made. "Done," when used as an adjective, typically describes a state of being finished or cooked, especially in the context of food.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023
In conclusion, "complete" generally refers to the comprehensive finishing of something, implying all components are included, whereas "done" often refers to the cessation of work or action, without necessarily implying thoroughness or perfection.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Implication

Wholeness, thoroughness
Conclusion, cessation of action
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Usage

Often indicates perfection
Common in everyday language
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Common Contexts

Projects, journeys, studies
Tasks, activities, cooking
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Adjective Use

Describes something as whole
Describes something as finished or cooked
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Nov 28, 2023

Connotation

Comprehensive completion
Simple finishing or ending
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Nov 28, 2023
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Complete and Done Definitions

Complete

Having all parts or elements; lacking nothing.
The collection is complete with the addition of this piece.
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Nov 28, 2023

Done

No longer happening or existing.
The festival is done for this year.
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Nov 28, 2023

Complete

Having all necessary or normal parts, components, or steps; entire
A complete medical history.
A complete set of dishes.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Cooked sufficiently.
The cake is done; let's take it out of the oven.
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Nov 28, 2023

Complete

(Botany) Having all principal parts, namely, the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistil or pistils. Used of a flower.
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Done

Worn out or exhausted.
After the long hike, I was completely done.
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Nov 28, 2023

Complete

Having come to an end; concluded
The renovation of the kitchen is complete.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Past participle of do1.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Absolute; thorough
Complete control.
A complete mystery.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Having been carried out or accomplished; finished
A done deed.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Accomplished; consummate
A complete musician.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Cooked adequately.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

(Football) Caught in bounds by a receiver
A complete pass.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Socially acceptable
Spitting on the street is just not done in polite society.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Complete

To bring to a finish or an end
She has completed her studies.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Done

(Informal) Totally worn out; exhausted.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

To make whole, with all necessary elements or parts
A second child would complete their family. Fill in the blanks to complete the form.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Having completed or finished an activity.
He pushed his empty plate away, sighed and pronounced "I am done."
They were done playing and were picking up the toys when he arrived.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

(Football) To throw (a forward pass) that is caught in bounds by a receiver.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

(of an activity or task) Completed or finished.
I'll text you when the movie's done.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

(ambitransitive) To finish; to make done; to reach the end.
He completed the assignment on time.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

(of food) Ready, fully cooked.
As soon as the potatoes are done we can sit down and eat.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

(transitive) To make whole or entire.
The last chapter completes the book nicely.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Done

Being exhausted or fully spent.
When the water is done we will only be able to go on for a few days.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

(poker) To call from the small blind in an unraised pot.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Without hope or prospect of completion or success.
He is done, after three falls there is no chance he will be able to finish.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

With all parts included; with nothing missing; full.
My life will be complete once I buy this new television.
She offered me complete control of the project.
After she found the rook, the chess set was complete.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Fashionable, socially acceptable, tasteful.
I can't believe he just walked up and spoke to her like that, those kind of things just aren't done!
What is the done thing these days? I can't keep up!
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Finished; ended; concluded; completed.
When your homework is complete, you can go and play with Martin.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Inflection of do
I have done my work.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Generic intensifier.
He is a complete bastard!
It was a complete shock when he turned up on my doorstep.
Our vacation was a complete disaster.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

; did.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

In which every Cauchy sequence converges to a point within the space.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Used in forming the perfective aspect; have.
I woke up and found out she done left.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

In which every set with a lower bound has a greatest lower bound.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

(obsolete) do
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

In which all small limits exist.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

(slang) methadone
On the done
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

In which every semantically valid well-formed formula is provable.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

It is done or agreed; let it be a match or bargain; - used elliptically.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

That is in a given complexity class and is such that every other problem in the class can be reduced to it (usually in polynomial time or logarithmic space).
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Given; executed; issued; made public; - used chiefly in the clause giving the date of a proclamation or public act.
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Filled up; with no part or element lacking; free from deficiency; entire; perfect; consummate.
Ye are complete in him.
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steelRevisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Done

Having finished or arrived at completion;
Certain to make history before he's done
It's a done deed
After the treatment, the patient is through except for follow-up
Almost through with his studies
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Finished; ended; concluded; completed; as, the edifice is complete.
This course of vanity almost complete.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Cooked until ready to serve
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Having all the parts or organs which belong to it or to the typical form; having calyx, corolla, stamens, and pistil.
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Oct 19, 2023

Done

Completed or finished.
The report is done and ready to be presented.
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Nov 28, 2023

Complete

To bring to a state in which there is no deficiency; to perfect; to consummate; to accomplish; to fulfill; to finish; as, to complete a task, or a poem; to complete a course of education.
Bred only and completed to the tasteOf lustful appetence.
And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Done

Used to indicate agreement.
You want to trade? Done!
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Nov 28, 2023

Complete

Come or bring to a finish or an end;
He finished the dishes
She completed the requirements for her Master's Degree
The fastest runner finished the race in just over 2 hours; others finished in over 4 hours
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Bring to a whole, with all the necessary parts or elements;
A child would complete the family
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Complete or carry out;
Discharge one's duties
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Complete a pass
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Write all the required information onto a form;
Fill out this questionnaire, please!
Make out a form
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Having every necessary or normal part or component or step;
A complete meal
A complete wardrobe
A complete set pf the Britannica
A complete set of china
A complete defeat
A complete accounting
An incomplete flower
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Perfect and complete in every respect; having all necessary qualities;
A complete gentleman
Consummate happiness
A consummate performance
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Having all four whorls or principal parts--sepals and petals and stamens and carpels (or pistils);
Complete flowers
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Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Highly skilled;
An accomplished pianist
A complete musician
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Without qualification; used informally as (often pejorative) intensifiers;
An arrant fool
A complete coward
A consummate fool
A double-dyed villain
Gross negligence
A perfect idiot
Pure folly
What a sodding mess
Stark staring mad
A thoroughgoing villain
Utter nonsense
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Having come or been brought to a conclusion;
The harvesting was complete
The affair is over, ended, finished
The abruptly terminated interview
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Complete

Whole, entire, or perfect.
His thesis was complete and ready for submission.
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Nov 28, 2023

Complete

Finished or concluded.
She was relieved to have the project complete.
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Nov 28, 2023

Complete

To bring to an end; finish.
He completed the marathon in record time.
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Nov 28, 2023

Complete

To make whole or perfect.
This final chapter completes my book.
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Nov 28, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can "complete" and "done" be used interchangeably?

Sometimes, but "complete" often implies thoroughness while "done" may not.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Can "done" refer to the state of food?

Yes, especially to indicate when food is cooked enough.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Is "done" informal?

It's often used in informal contexts.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Is "complete" only used for tasks?

No, it can refer to a wide range of things, including objects and states.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Does "complete" always mean perfection?

Not always, but it implies a high degree of finish or entirety.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Can "complete" be a verb and an adjective?

Yes, it functions as both.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Does "complete" imply a longer process?

It can, especially when indicating thoroughness or entirety.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Is "done" used in formal writing?

Less commonly, as it tends to be more conversational.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Can "done" express agreement?

Yes, it can be used to signify agreement in a deal or decision.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Can "done" be used to indicate the end of an event?

Yes, it can indicate that something is over.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Is "complete" used in technology contexts?

Yes, like completing a software update or project.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Can "done" be used in a business context?

Yes, especially in colloquial speech or informal agreements.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Is "complete" used in academic contexts?

Yes, it's common in academic and professional settings.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Can "done" imply exhaustion?

Yes, informally it can mean being tired or finished with something.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Can "done" be used in cooking?

Yes, it's commonly used to refer to the cooking state of food.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Does "complete" carry a positive connotation?

Generally, yes, especially when indicating fulfillment.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Can "done" be used for projects?

Yes, but it might not convey the thoroughness that "complete" does.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Is "complete" more formal than "done"?

It's often perceived as more formal or thorough.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Does "complete" imply a successful conclusion?

Often, but not always; it can just mean that something has all its parts.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Does "complete" have a more definitive sense than "done"?

It can, especially in terms of comprehensiveness or entirety.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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