Difference Between Finally, Eventually & Ultimately

Finally

Finally is often used to introduce the last in a series of statements. When used in this way, finally is especially common in speeches, presentations, or in formal writing such as in an academic paper or a job application.

For example, a person might end a presentation by saying:

Finally, I’d like to thank the conference organizers for putting together this event.

Eventually

Eventually means at some later time or in the end. It can be used to talk about something that will happen in the future. For example, you might hear a basketball fan say:

The Celtics have some good young players. In a few years, they’ll eventually win the championship.

Or, you might hear a gardener talk about a tree that will grow to a tall height, as in:

This tree will eventually reach a height of 50 meters.

Ultimately

Ultimately can mean: in the most important way or at the most basic level.

When it has this meaning, speakers often use it at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence, as in:

Ultimately, it is a question for the voters to decide.

It is ultimately a question for the voters to decide.

‘When the Cat’s Away, the Mice Will Play!’

This expression means that people sometimes misbehave when no one is there to watch them. So, the teacher is the cat and the students are the mice.\n\nWe often use this expression when talking about children and parents, employees and office supervisors and even people in committed relationships.

Pompous and patronizing (Describing character, part 5)

Khosrork/iStock/Getty Images Plus by Kate Woodford Today, in the last of the ‘Describing character’ posts, we’re looking at words for a variety of negative characteristics, from the tendency to criticize others, the belief that you are better than everyone else. Starting with traits that we associate with strong characters, a person who has very definite […]

Pompous and patronizing (Describing character, part 5)

‘Cooking up a storm’ and ‘faces like thunder’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 1)

Sir Francis Canker Photography/Moment/Getty Images by Kate Woodford It may not surprise you to hear that the weather features in a lot of English idioms. In many of these, the weather words are used metaphorically, in a way that makes the meaning quite obvious. For example, a storm often features in idioms as something negative, referring […]

‘Cooking up a storm’ and ‘faces like thunder’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 1)

I feel like my life’s on hold: Language for describing uncertain times.

BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images Plus by Liz Walter With many people around the world in some form of lockdown and almost everyone affected by the pandemic in some way, I thought it might be useful to offer some language suitable for talking about living in a climate of uncertainty (a general situation of not knowing what is […]

I feel like my life’s on hold: Language for describing uncertain times.

Hitting it off and befriending people (Words for making friends)

Nick David/Stone/Getty Images by Kate Woodford In these troubled times, I thought you might enjoy a post with a positive subject matter so today I’ll be looking at words and phrases around the subject of making friends and being friendly. You’ll notice there are several phrasal verbs in the post. Starting with a phrasal verb, if […]

Hitting it off and befriending people (Words for making friends)

Driven or bone idle? (Describing people’s characters, Part 1)

Nora Carol Photography/Moment/Getty Images by Kate Woodford We often describe the characters of people that we know. Sometimes we say something complimentary (= positive) about a person and at other times, we’re more critical (= negative). Very often, we mention a particular aspect of someone’s character, perhaps in relation to something that has happened. As […]

Driven or bone idle? (Describing people’s characters, Part 1)

Driven or bone idle? (Describing people’s characters, Part 1)

Nora Carol Photography/Moment/Getty Images by Kate Woodford We often describe the characters of people that we know. Sometimes we say something complimentary (= positive) about a person and at other times, we’re more critical (= negative). Very often, we mention a particular aspect of someone’s character, perhaps in relation to something that has happened. As […]

Driven or bone idle? (Describing people’s characters, Part 1)

Extrovert or introvert? (Describing character, part 4)

Francesco Carta fotografo/Moment/Getty Images by Kate Woodford Today’s post is the latest in a thread dedicated to describing people’s personalities. We’ve previously looked at adjectives and phrases for people who are relaxed and happy (Part 3), kind and mean (Part 2), and hard-working and lazy (Part 1). Today we focus on words and phrases meaning […]

Extrovert or introvert? (Describing character, part 4)