The difference between "al final", "por fin", "en fin" and "finalmente"

In Spanish there are several ways that you can translate the words finally, eventually or at last in English.


Here we will explain the differences between the words that can be used:

Finalmente / Al final (adverbs)

These are interchangeable and mean finally. They indicate the end of something, but not something that is necessarily hoped for. It could also be translated as in the end. They function as adverbs.

  • Al final el abuelo murió - Finally the grandfather died

  • Reservó el vuelo, pero finalmente decidió no ir - She booked the flight, but in the end she decided not to go

They can also be used at the end of a list to indicate the final item as in English:

  • Primero se casó con María, después con Inés y finalmente con Cristina - First he married María, then Inés and finally Cristina

  • Fui a la panadería, después a la frutería y al final a la carnicería - I went the the bakers, then the greengrocers and finally the butchers

Por fin/Al fin (adverbs)

These adverbial phrases, which are equivalent, would best be translated as at last and normally are used with something that is hoped for for a long time.

  • Estuve buscando la salida durante dos horas, y por fin, la encontré - I was searching for the exit for two hours and at last I found it

  • Al fin me quedé embarazada después de dos años intentándolo - At last I got pregnant after two years of trying

En fin

This is just a colloquial phrase that could be translated as that is to say or to conclude

  • Marc bebe mucho, fuma demasiado, casi nunca ha trabajado, se casó y se divorció tres veces, tiene cinco hijos con cuatro mujeres diferentes. En fin, mejor que no te cases con él - Marc drinks a lot, smokes too much, has almost never worked, he married and divorced three times, has five children with four different women, so to conclude, it’s better that you don’t marry him

Eventualmente (adverb) warning!!

When used in the future this has the same meaning as eventually in English.

  • Eventualmente te darás cuenta del error de casarte con Marc - Eventually you will realise the error of marrying Marc.

When used in the past or present it is false friend and means from time to time. It does NOT mean eventually in this context.

  • Me alojo eventualmente en la casa de Miguel - From time to time I stay with Miguel

Final (adjective)

When used as an adjective this is the same as final or last in English.

  • Mi oferta final por el coche es 300 de euros - My final offer for the car is 300 euros

El final (noun)

As a noun, it means the end or ending.

  • El final del libro - The end of the book
  • La película tuvo un final feliz - The film had a happy ending

al final can be used as an adjective also and means at the end

  • Al final de la calle - At the end of the street

La final (noun)

Just to add to the confusion, there is also a feminine version of the noun, la final which means the final of a competion.

  • Alemanía ganó la final de la Copa Mundial contra Brasil - Germany won the World Cup final against Brazil
  • La final de los 100 metros - The 100 metres final