We use the expression at last when we feel that we have been waiting for a long time for something to happen and then it happens. For example, if you agree to meet a friend one evening but they arrive late, you might say “Here you are, at last!”
We use the word lastly to say the last thing in a list. For example, we can say “First, put the tea into the cup. Then, add some hot water. Wait a few minutes and, lastly, drink it”.
If you’re not sure, which of the above to use, instead of last and lastly, we can use the word finally. For example, “Ah finally! Here’s the bus!”, or “She finished her work, turned off the computer, put on her jacket, and finally left the office.” (Callan Method, Stage 7)
Remember though, when we are talking about positive outcomes, we can use “at last”, or “in the end”. For example, “At last, I managed to open the window”, or “In the end, I managed to open the window”.
However, when we are talking about negative outcomes, we can only use “in the end”, and no “at last”. For example, “In the end, I didn’t manage to open the window”. (Callan Method Stage 10)
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