1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    At or By?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by JJ_Maxx, Oct 29, 2012.

    Was just writing and paused when I came to this sentence.

    Should it be:

    By the end of every day, Joel was covered in a thick layer of grease.

    or

    At the end of every day, Joel was covered in a thick layer of grease.

    Kinda stuck on this one.
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Either.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'd chose the one you're instinctively leaning towards. You can best guess how it looks in the surrounding
    sentences and judge it's rhythm.
     
  4. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    there is a difference:

    'by the end of the day' suggests an ongoing situation throughout the day i.e. he's working in grease all day, therefore he's covered come quitting time.

    'at the end of the day' suggests that, no matter how ulikely is sounds - he becomes covered in grease at that moment. 'At the end of the day' is a period of time, not a vague all day thing.
     
  5. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    'By', to me, seems to have a feeling of 'building up throughout the day' whereas 'At' has a feeling of 'a point in time at the end of the day'.

    I think I will go with 'by'.

    Thank you all!

    EDIT: Evelon beat me to it!
     
  6. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    You read my mind!
     
  7. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Or did I read yours?
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Depending on the sentences that come before the one in question, both "by" and "at" can imply the same thing - eg. that throughout the course of the day he's getting covered in grease. However yes, if you want to emphasise that the grease builds up during the day, then "by" is better - but you can use either ultimately.
     
  9. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I sort of disagree there. I think that 'at' is more specific that 'by the end of'. A lot depends on the context I know, but based on the sentences given, there are two different meanings.
     
  10. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Yes, the sentence before it is:

    He would dive knee-deep into a large engine, taking it apart and putting it back together. By the end of every day, he would be covered in a thick, satisfying layer of grease.

    Seems either would work.
     
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    To me, "by" works better.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, given this context, I'd say either is fine - however I would agree with the consensus that "by" does feel better :)
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ev and jj are right, imo...
     

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