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Is it "at" or "in"?

A common confusion is which preposition to use in the following fixed expressions.

First of all, here are two phrases that are often mixed up and need to be memorised as chunks: at the same time and in the same way. Basically you just need to remember that it’s AT when you mean time, just like when you’re talking about clock time and say at 3 pm.  So knowing that it’s AT for time means the other one uses IN.

However in another pair of expressions, it all depends on what you’re trying to say. 

Do you mean at the final point of something like a book, a film, a trip or a holiday? Then you want to say: at the end. This one is often the opposite of at the beginning

But when you mean after having thought about all the aspects of something or you mean finally, then you want to say: in the end

Here are some examples:

What happened at the end (of the book)?

They live at the other end of Sydney.

At the end of the meeting we decided to sign the contract.

In the end I decided to go to Canada on holiday.

In the end I decided to quit my job and move to the country to become an artist.

I had to sit the exam twice but in the end I finally passed it.

You can find more explanations about common confusions here and here.

© Christina Wielgolawski