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Language tip of the week: at/in the end

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. This week’s tip is about confusion between the very similar phrases  at the end and in the end.

People often confuse the phrases at the end and in the end.

In the end is similar to finally or eventually. Use it when you are saying what happens finally, after everything has been thought about or discussed:

He had promised to share his prize, but at the end he didn’t.
He had promised to share his prize, but in the end he didn’t.
In an ideal world, teenagers would talk openly to their parents who would in the end respect their child’s decision.

At the end means in the final part of an event or period of time, and it is mainly used in the pattern at the end of.

Remember to say goodbye and thank-you at the end of the interview.
The band arrives back in London today, at the end of a 20-day, 19-concert, European tour.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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