These two little phrases are often confusing for students, the only difference is a tiny wee preposition! They are high frequency so you do need to know them properly. The explanations will show you when you need to use ‘at’ and when to use ‘in’. Do the exercise at the end 😉 to check you’ve got them crystal clear.
AT THE END
Meaning: in the final part of something, when something ends
Juan is going back to Chile at the end of June.
We all got a certificate at the end of the course.
There’s a lovely park at the end of the road.
The play was a great success. At the end (= when it finished) everybody stood up and cheered.
IN THE END
Meaning 1: finally, after a long time;
We got lost walking around the city but in the end we managed to find our hotel again.
It rained all morning but the sun came out in the end and I was able to take the dog for a walk.
Meaning 2: after considering everything, after all
We didn’t win the tournament but in the end what’s important is that everybody really enjoyed themselves.
“Try not to get so stressed about your interview,” said Harry. “In the end it’s just an interview. If you don’t get the job, there will be others.”
Fill the gaps with ‘at’ or ‘in’
1. We’re looking forward to going to Mexico _____ the end of May.
2. The huge shark was coming towards me and I screamed, but it was just a dream _____ the end.
3. The best part of the party was ____ the end when there was an amazing firework display.
4. _____ the end of the interview they offered Keira the job.
5. It wasn’t easy to choose a university but _____ the end Deborah decided on Glasgow.