At last, lastly and finally

by Brian May 26, 2021
At last, lastly and finally

 At last, the shops are open again! We can go and spend all that money we saved during lockdown.

Have you ever noticed that things we are looking forward to sometimes seem to take forever to arrive? Me too! No doubt you’ve been looking forward to reading the next blog post from the Central School of English. Well, it’s here at last!!

No surprises for guessing that the subject of this blog are the expressions at last, lastly and finally.

Interested? Then stick with me!

At last

We use the expression at last when we feel that we have been waiting for a long time for something and then it happens. When we say at last we express a sense of relief.

For example, imagine you agree to meet your friend at half past four but they don’t arrive until 5 o clock. When your friend finally arrives you can say:

Here you are at last! I have been waiting for half an hour!

Here are some similar examples:

The bus is late as usual. When it finally arrives you say:
At last! I thought it would never come.

You ordered a book online and have been waiting over a month for it to arrive. The postman delivers it and you say:
Ah, my book is here at last!

We often use at last when we have been looking forward to something and then it happens.

People usually look forward to their holidays from work. On the day their holiday arrives they might say:

I’m on holidays at last!

If you have been feeling hungry all morning and waiting for lunchtime to arrive, when lunchtime comes you might say:
It’s lunchtime, at last!

Notice that in all of the examples above we could use the word finally instead of at last.

At Last

We use at last when we feel we have been waiting a long time for something to happen, and then it happens.
Example: At last, the bus is here!


When we want to speak about something that comes as the final item on a list, we can use the word lastly.

For example, when we are shopping we might say:

I need milk, eggs, bread, cheese and lastly some fruit.

To buy items in Ikea, we walk around the store and make a note of the items we want to buy. Next, we go to the storeroom and find the items. Lastly, we go the checkout and pay for the items.

When we buy airline tickets online we choose the dates we wish to travel. Next we select the times we want to travel. Then we fill in details such as our name and address. Lastly we give our credit card details to buy the tickets.

Notice that in all of the examples above we could also use the word finally instead of lastly.


We use lastly to say the last item or action on a list.
Example: I need to buy some eggs, cheese, bread and lastly some milk.

Finally means both 'at last' and 'lastly'

As I mentioned above, the word finally can be used instead of both at last and lastly. That’s right, finally has two meanings! So if you can’t remember the difference between at last and lastly – just say finally instead – easy peasy!

Here are some examples of finally meaning at last:

Finally, the train is here!
Here you are, finally.
Great! My holidays have arrived, finally!

Here are some examples of finally meaning lastly:

I had dinner, went for a walk, watched a movie and finally went to bed.

We ate soup, salad, pasta and finally some ice cream.


The word finally has two meanings.
It can mean the same as at last.
Example: Finally, the bus is here!
It can mean the same as lastly.
Example: I need to buy some eggs, cheese, bread and finally some milk.

Test Yourself

1 / 9

'At last' expresses a sense of__________.

2 / 9

Which sentence is a good example of 'at last'?

3 / 9

We use 'lastly' to say:

4 / 9

Which is a good example of 'lastly'?

5 / 9

It took a long time but __________ I passed my driving test.

6 / 9

__________ the pizza has arrived!

7 / 9

We drank some wine, beer and ________ tequila.

8 / 9

Finally means the same as:

9 / 9

What is the meaning of 'finally' in this sentence:
Finally we meet, Mr Bond.

Your score is

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At last and lastly


Relief: A feeling of happiness when something bad has not happened or ended

Forever: For all time

Phrasal Verbs

To stick with somebody or something: To continue doing something or continue using a service
Example: I almost dropped out of college, but I stuck with it and got my degree.


Easy peasy: Very easy
Example: Nowadays, it’s easy peasy to shop online.

Thank you for reading our post. You’ll find more English grammar tips elsewhere on our site and if you’d like information on our online English courses live from Dublin, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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