Finally, at last, lastly or in the end? - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online Cambridge dictionaries logo

Finally, at last, lastly or in the end?

from English Grammar Today

Finally, at last, lastly and in the end all have a meaning of ‘after a period of time’. However, we use them in different ways.

Finally

We use finally to refer to something that happened after a long time and usually after some difficulties. In this meaning, finally most commonly occurs in the normal mid position for adverbs, between the subject and the main verb, after the modal verb or the first auxiliary verb, or after be as a main verb:

There were no taxis and we finally got home at 2 pm.

She’s had over twenty interviews but Jasmine has finally got a job as a journalist.

At last

We use at last when we have been impatient as a result of long delays. Like finally, at last occurs in the normal mid position for adverbs as well as in front and end position:

At last I’ve discovered how to print envelopes on my printer!

She has at last given me the book she promised me.

They’re here at last!! We’ve been waiting half an hour.

Lastly

We use lastly to refer to something that comes at the end of a long list:

We need eggs, milk, sugar, bread and, lastly, we mustn’t forget yoghurt for Dad.

I’ve thanked my parents but lastly I must thank all my friends for their help.

In the end

We use in the end to refer to a conclusion after a long process, after a lot of changes or after a lot of discussion:

We were going to ski in Austria, then the South of France and in the end we decided to go to Italy.

And then, in the end, after months of discussion they offered to buy our house.

(“Finally, at last, lastly or in the end?” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day

float

a large vehicle with a flat surface that is decorated and used in festivals

Word of the Day

PLEASE DON’T SHOUT!
PLEASE DON’T SHOUT!
by Colin McIntosh,
February 09, 2016
New words are entering the language all the time. A few of these are completely new and original coinages, but the vast majority are based on the existing stock of words in some way, for example by using affixes (prefixes and suffixes). These can have the effect of changing the meaning of the

Read More 

farecasting noun
farecasting noun
February 08, 2016
predicting the optimum date to buy a plane ticket, especially on a website or using an app A handful of new and updated websites and apps are trying to perfect the art of what’s known as farecasting – predicting the best date to buy a ticket.

Read More