When do you use at the end vs. in the end?

We’ll give you a simple breakdown of both and examples of when each are used.

At the end: at the finishing point of an event, process, duration, or physical location.

At the end of the show, the actors and actresses all came up on stage together.
Travis felt like he was going to faint at the end of the marathon.
We had to turn in our homework at the end of class.
There’s a small convenience store at the end of the street.

In all the examples above, notice how at the end is used to denote the end of an activity or location.

In the end: in conclusion, finally, after all is said and done

She didn’t want to go to the party but did in the end because she didn’t want to miss out on it.
Sophie said raising children was one of the hardest things in her life, but in the end, she doesn’t regret it.
In the end, what you learn in math will help you think analytically and logically in real life.
Scott had been going through a rough patch, but in the end, he came through and recovered.

Unlike at the end, in the end is used with more abstract concepts; it show the results of a psychological process.

Practice Sentences

You can try out these practice questions to test your understanding of the two phrases. The answers will be at the bottom of the page.

  1. The on-and-off couple thought they would end up together at/in the end, but they both moved on.
  2. Could you go get the ball at/in the end of the field?
  3. The grades for the essays came out at/in the end of the semester.
  4. The marketer will be handing out sample at/in the end of his presentation.
  5. At/In the end, the thief regretted trying to steal from the bank.
  6. I couldn’t decided which to get, but at/in the end, I choose the blue hat over the red one.
  7. At/In the end of the procedure, your teeth will be pearly white.
  8. Sara was crying at/in the end of the movie because the protagonist lost his life.
  9. At/In the end of his treatment program, Drew sent out thank-you letters to everyone who supported him.
  10. The company didn’t hire the CEO’s son at/in the end, much to everyone’s surprise.

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Answers to the practice questions:

  1. in the end
  2. at the end
  3. at the end
  4. at the end
  5. In the end
  6. in the end
  7. At the end
  8. at the end
  9. At the end
  10. in the end