At last/ finally

Discussion in 'English Only' started by canwyl, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. canwyl Member

    Uk - English

    I know they mean pretty much the same thing but some french people were asking me the other day when you say at last and when finally.

    Do we have any rules, or is it just what sounds the best?

  2. hopsgirl74 New Member

    USA, English
    I think it is mostly a matter of whichever sounds better. However, I would say that "finally" is more formal, and "at last", less so.

    You would be more likely to use "finally" in business and lists. "At last" is completely interchangable in less formal situations, but I think it is being used less and less these days. Sadly, education being what it is, our vocabularies are shrinking.
  3. canwyl Member

    Uk - English
    That's true, you wouldn't write "at last" in a piece of writing.

    I dunno bout it being used less tho, I know I still use it quite a lot!!
  4. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Would you consider "finally" less emphatic than "at long last"? I've noticed that Gordon Ramsay loves using dramatic/extreme words like "best performance", "the worst service ever" almost every episodeof his reality shows, so I think he picks up "at long last" simply for more dramatic effect.

    : Gordon Ramsay's narration: At long last, the front desk can focus on welcoming guests. And the hotel's new white lobby is a great improvement.

    Source: Hotel Hell, Season 1 Episode 4.

  5. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English
    Yes, and more impatient/frustrated as well.

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