End / Ending

Hi, Rasha Assem,

Although the nouns "end" and "ending" are not completely interchangeable, we can say both (1) and (2).  Speaking of films and books, the only difference I find is that "end" can mean a point in time, the one that marks the moment when the film or book finishes, as in:

This is of course a set collocation, but even so nobody would think of "the ending" as a possible substitute for "the end" in this case. "the end" can also be conceived as the "place" (the last scene/picture, the last page) where the film or book finishes.

Instead, "ending" tends to have that meaning you mention, as the denouement of the story (the facts or events leading to the end). According to the Longman dictionary, "ending" is the way that a story or film finishes. I can't help remembering the song "Happy endings" in the movie "New York, New York." *happy ends would not be possible.

Note: A more suitable title for this thread would have been "End/Ending" or "End or ending?," don't you think?

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rashaassem posted:

you're absolutely right about the title!  

I have edited your title for you, Rasha. The point also applies to your other recent "Vocab" thread, of course. Years from now people may Google the grammar of "end" and "ending." When they find this thread, they will not care one bit about the trivial, irrelevant detail of its being the second of two vocabulary questions you happened to ask around the time the thread started. This is common sense.

Gustavo, Contributor posted:
 "the end" can also be conceived as the "place" (the last scene/picture, the last page) where the film or book finishes.

Instead, "ending" tends to have that meaning you mention, as the denouement of the story (the facts or events leading to the end). According to the Longman dictionary, "ending" is the way that a story or film finishes.

I agree completely with Gustavo's answer. Sometimes we do say things like "I've forgotten what happens at the end," and in such sentences "the end" refers, not to a point in time, but to a "place in time," i.e., to the period of time comprising the ending. (Note: The phrase "the very end" always refers to a point in time; we can't say "the very ending.") We commonly use "ending" in sentences like "Don't give away the ending," which means "Don't give away how it ends." Of course, we can also say things like "He found out what happens at the end." That sentence is ambiguous. It could refer either to the very end or to the ending. The two terms come close to each other in usage. When in doubt, use "end."

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