Difference between ‘in the end & at the end’

(Explanation of the meaning of ‘in the end’ and ‘at the end’)

Table of contents – distinction of ‘in the end & at the end’

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Using ‘in the end’ and ‘at the end’
  2. Further explanations and exercises

When and how are ‘in the end’ and ‘at the end’ used?

English language learners may easily confuse the expressions in the end and at the end because of their similarities. However, care needs to be taken here, as the meaning differs. For details on their word order, see the adverbials of indefinite time for ‘in the end’ and adverbials of place for ‘at the end’.

  • Specifically, there are the following differences in meaning in usage:
    • If the sense is ‘finally’, the adverbial word combination ‘in the end’ is used:
      • In the end, I decided not to buy a new car.”
      • “We had some misunderstandings, but in the end, everything was solved.”
    • The phrase ‘at the end’, on the other hand, is utilised to express the sense ‘towards the end of something’ or to represent a spatial end:
      • “I rarely have any money left at the end of the month.”
        • Here, it appears in a figurative sense for a particular point in time.
      • At the end of the show, we all were exhausted.”
        • This statement shows that a temporal meaning is possible as well.
      • “There was a fire at the house at the end of the street.”
        • This example demonstrates a spatial reference.

Further explanations referring to the ‘Use of ‘in the end’ and ‘at the end’

The following explanations are related to the difference between ‘in the end’ and ‘at the end’ in English grammar and may also be interesting: