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Last updated at 16:54 BST, Wednesday, 24 June 2009

At the end / in the end

In the end, I didn’t have to pay for the pizza

In the end, I didn’t have to pay for the pizza

A question from Maria in Russia:
What is the difference between the two expressions ‘at the end’ and ‘in the end’?

Trudi Faulkner-Petrova answers

Click below to hear the answer:

Maria, I’m glad to hear you find this website useful and hope this answer will help you.

I’m going to start with ‘at the end’ because it's got more than one meaning. It can refer to the end of a physical location, like ‘at the end of our street’. It can also mean a metaphorical end, like ‘at the end of the story’ or ‘at the end of the movie’. This phrase can also mean the end point of a period of time. Some examples of this usage are:

The teacher set some homework at the end of the lesson.
I’m going on holiday at the end of the week.

So, what about ‘in the end’ then? Well, it’s an adverb phrase which means ‘finally’. Here’s an example:

I complained about the pizza so, in the end, I didn’t have to pay for it.
We waited for an hour and, in the end, we went without her.

Well, I’m ‘at the end’ of my explanation now, so I hope you can successfully discriminate between the two phrases now!

About Trudi Faulkner-Petrova

Trudi Faulkner-Petrova

Trudi Faulkner-Petrova has a BA (Hons) in English, Bsc. in Psychology and Cert.TESOL. She has been teaching EFL, EAP and Business English in international schools, businesses and universities in Beijing over the last 10 years. Currently, she is a freelance tutor for ESOL, English Literature, SAT/TOEFL preparation and also works for the British Council as an IELTS and BULATS examiner. She is in the final year of studies for an Msc. in Psychology.


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