AT THE END or IN THE END - What is the difference? | DailyStep English

AT THE END or IN THE END - What is the difference?


Share DailyStep English on Naver

Jane Lawson English teacher Hello, I'm Jane at DailyStep English!

In this blog, I'll explain the difference between these two common expressions. Even if you already know this topic, is is a good idea to revise as I often hear advanced students making mistakes in conversation when using AT THE END and IN THE END.  There are also some free audio descriptions of all the topics in this week's DailyStep audio lessons. If you are new to DailyStep English, please register for 5 free UK-USA audio lessons and to be on my mailing list.

AT THE END or IN THE END - What is the difference?
By Jane Lawson at
AT THE END or IN THE END - What is the difference?Thank you to Clemenceaux in Madagascar for this question. These expressions sound so similar that it is easy to confuse them. 
Even if you understand the difference already, when you hear people using them in conversation it can still be confusing, especially because the prepositions AT and IN  are unstressed syllables.
AT THE END refers to the endpoint of something. This can be a physical location, for example
The supermarket is at the end of the street,
 or it can be the end of a period of time, for example
He left his job at the end of last year
I’ll call you at the end of the week.
It can also refer to the end of something like a story, a film, a book and so on. For example:
At the end of the book, the hero dies.
They get married at the end of the film.
IN THE END means “Finally”  or “Eventually“  
I was planning to go to France, but in the end I decided to go to Spain.

IN THE END  can also mean “When everything is taken into account“, or “When everything is considered.
In the end, the most important things are friendship, trust, and love.

Just to confuse you, there is also an idiom AT THE END OF THE DAY, which means the same thing as IN THE END, or “when everything is taken into account
At the end of the day, the most important things are friendship, trust and love.
So, is that clear for you? It’s a good idea to write your own examples of this to help you fix it in your mind. There is a free PDF of this lesson at the bottom of this page. If you are a subscriber to DailyStep Audio Lessons, you can also download this audio file there.

Please share this lesson:


How to speak English fluently and understand fast English.

Improve Speaking and Listening with DailyStep EnglishDailyStep English Audio Lessons are designed to help you learn to speak and understand English at the speed that we speak it.

No matter how good your English is, you need to be able to follow a fast conversation in order to participate.

DailyStep English courses are fully accredited and you can get an internationally recognised certificate for your CV or resume. Please listen to current DailyStep lesson topics here:

Listen Now

If you are ready to start daily lessons, you can start your lessons here.

Ready to start?

To get 5 Audio Lessons each week at any levels you choose, plus access to download the premium audio in ALL my blogs, please start Daily Audio Lessons here:

Start Daily Lessons

Download this lesson

If you are a subscriber to my DailyStep Audio Lessons, you can download this audio file below.