I have noticed this Ende comes with "am" preposition always.

I know das Ende = an dem Ende dativ form.

But, there are context wherien it seems like even "in" preposition can work out. Yet there comes "am" preposition.

Eg: Am Ende kam der arme Hund zu einem Besitzer.

Why can't we use Im Ende here?

Another example:

am Ende Dezember

Can we also write it as "im Ende Dezember"?

  • 3
    "Why can't we use Im Ende here?" Why do you expect to be able to do that?
    – user6495
    Dec 14, 2020 at 15:58
  • 1
    Try to reformlate the question in the form of "I believe rule X holds. The following observation seems to contradict this: Y. What is wrong?". Dec 14, 2020 at 16:01
  • Why do English speakers use "in the end"? Why never "at the end"? Dec 15, 2020 at 9:38
  • 1
    @KilianFoth Fun fact: They use "at the end", too.
    – user6495
    Dec 15, 2020 at 12:06
  • 1
    If one could use both "am Ende" and "im Ende" then most likely somebody would ask what's the difference.
    – RHa
    Dec 15, 2020 at 15:19

3 Answers 3


"Am Ende" is a fixed combination which corresponds to the English "at the end". In English one also uses "in the end" (perhaps this is the reason for your question), but that cannot be translated by "im Ende". It corresponds to "schließlich". Your example

Am Ende kam der arme Hund zu einem Besitzer

could be replaced by

Schließlich kam der arme Hund zu einem Besitzer.

"Im Ende" is never used in that context. And the phrase "am Ende Dezember" is not correct, one simply says "Ende Dezember".

However, also "im Ende" can be used in German, but if we do so it has a completely different meaning than "at the end". Here is an example

Im Ende liegt ein neuer Anfang.

This does not mean that something happens at the end, but that the end contains something new in itself. This is similar as in the phrase "Im Glauben liegt Trost".

  • 2
    Good answer, especially the part at the end ;-) Dec 14, 2020 at 18:59

I want to add a more theoretical reasoning to @KritikerDerElche's already good answer.

If referring to a time interval, "im" (same as "in der") can be understood as "inside" or "within".

  • Im Januar
  • Im Jahr 2020
  • Im ersten Jahr
  • In der zweiten Woche

These are all timespans or intervals. But beginning and end are time points, not interval, so no event can occur in them, only at them.

For the same reason it is very unusual to say "im Anfang" (in the beginning), but rather "am Anfang" (at the beginning).

But as @KritikerDerElche already stated at the end (no pun intended) of his answer: If you are referring not to the timespan, but the concept, then "im Anfang" or "im Ende" are perfectly fine, for example:

"Im Anfang liegt die Kraft" (not a real idiom, I couldn't think of anything better)

Side note: An older version of the Bible says "Im Anfang war das Wort", but newer version now say "Am Anfang war das Wort"

  • Don't forget "Im Anfang schuf Gott den Himmel und die Erde." Maybe the IM was insprired by the Latin "In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram." Dec 18, 2020 at 14:55
  • @KritikerderElche Yes, and if you google that sentence (without quotes), the first result for me is die-bibel.de/bibeltext/1.Mose1,1-2,4a where it says "Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde". It seems to me that it shifted towards "am Anfang" over time
    – Sentry
    Dec 19, 2020 at 0:38
  • 1
    It is a very interesting question what came first: Im Anfang or am Anfang? Look at this bible edition from 1531. It says "Am Anfang" (pdf page 34). It seems that "tilde a" stands for "an", I can't imagine that the word was misspelled in verse 1 of the bible. But it leaves open why Luthers's translation "am Anfang" was replaced in many older texts by "im Anfang". Dec 19, 2020 at 1:28
  • Very interesting indeed
    – Sentry
    Dec 19, 2020 at 16:42

Note, that an/am is the more universal preposition translating to a simple nearby or at, while in implies either within a surrounding (ich habe einen Apfel in der Hand) or something like in essence (im Kern bedeutet das Argument, ...) or in the middle of (im schönen Monat Mai).

English seems no difference here looking at phrases like:

  • at the end of the day/road (am Ende des Tages/der Straße, note: local as well as temporal meaning)
  • at the end of the chapter/book (am Ende des Kapitels / Buchs)
  • at the end of the procedure (am Ende des Verfahrens)

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