Finale vs finally

Finale and finally are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English. Two words or more than two words, even if they are common words, may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, homographs, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Sometimes, confusables are word constructions that are not proper English words. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words that have a different meaning from one another and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure to learn new words and commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling and meaning. To learn new words in the English language, one must not only study a spelling words list, one must know the meaning of words in one’s vocabulary word list. It is also helpful to memorize how to correctly pronounce words and to know the etymology of new words or where they are derived from. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables finale and finally, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Finale is the end of a piece of music, a performance, or a show. Usually, a finale is the most spectacular part of the piece in order to leave the audience with a feeling of wonder. The word finale is a borrowed Italian word, which is derived from the Latin word, finalis, which means concluding or ending.

Finally is an adverb that means after a long time or an extreme difficulty or after a prolonged period. Finally is also used as a signal that one has come to the last item in a list or series or that one is about to state a conclusion. The word finally came into use in the fifteenth century to mean the last occurrence or something that is complete.


Wedding bells were ringing in the series finale of “NCIS: New Orleans.” (USA Today)

Confetti rained down on Times Square following a weekend of free public events to welcome back Broadway, bringing a spectacular conclusion to a star-studded grand finale of the Curtain Up! festival on Sunday, September 19, from 11 am-1 pm. (DC Metro Theater Arts)

A bright red river of lava from the volcano on Spain’s La Palma island finally tumbled over a cliff and into the Atlantic Ocean, setting off huge plumes of steam and possibly toxic gases that forced local residents outside the evacuation zone to remain indoors on Wednesday. (Denver Post)

“I finally figured out what was going on,” Grisham writes. (Sydney Morning Herald)

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