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Looking at a Wikipedia article describing a telefilm, I noted the following sentence that describes an event happened in Season 1:

They eventually find and reunite with their father, who reveals that the creature that killed their mother years earlier is the demon Azazel (aka "Yellow Eyes") and the only thing that can kill him is a legendary gun created by Samuel Colt.

I am used to sentences similar to the following one. (Suppose somebody asks me what my work plans are.)

I want to get a job on the local newspaper and eventually work for "The Times."

I understand eventually as introducing an eventuality: It can happen that I will work for The Times, but it could also happen that I will not work for The Times. The previous sentence is different from "I want to work for The Times."

Probably I am influenced from how in Italian we use eventualmente, but I don't understand what eventually would mean in a sentence describing what happens in a telefilm season.

  • kiam, after having read the answers, and the correlated comments, I understood that English-speakers use "nel caso" in the same way we say "nel caso". For example, "nel caso (read 'eventualmente') leggessi questo commento non saresti più nelle condizioni di comprendere quali siano le differenze". However, +1; I share same doubts with you. – user114 Apr 16 '13 at 19:55
  • I'm not a native Italian speaker, but I would translate that using "finalmente riuscire". "Alla fine, riusciranno a trovare e riunirsi al loro padre, il quale rivela che la creatura che aveva ucciso la loro madre vari anni in precedenza era il demonio Azazel (conosciuto come "Giall'Occhio"), e che l'unica cosa che puo' ucciderlo e' il mitico fucile creato da Samuel Colt." – Xantix May 25 '13 at 8:29
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It means after a long time, or after a lot of effort. See eventually in this online dictionary.

So in your first example I imagine they have to go through an extended period away from their father, or they have to do a lot of work to find him.

(in response to a comment) It is possible to say "Eventually, I will come back tomorrow morning." but only in a very convoluted scenario, where tomorrow morning is a long time away, e.g. in a time travel scenario.

Well, first I'll have to go back six week and place the artefact in the museum, then wait for me to find it, after which I'll have to go to the future where I will take the artefact back after we use it to placate the Caldarens. After a few more twists and turns, eventually, I will come back back tomorrow morning in time to present it to the Queen.

Eventually carries the feeling that there will be a struggle or a need to be patient.

  • Is possible to say "Eventually, I will come back tomorrow morning." in English? If that is a possible sentence, I would not understand that as meaning "after a long time"; I could say that at 9 PM, referring to tomorrow at 6 AM. Does eventually have two different, distinct meanings? – kiamlaluno Apr 16 '13 at 12:26
  • No, that doesn't make sense. I will try to update the answer with a clarification. – Matt Ellen Apr 16 '13 at 12:31
  • Oh, then eventually is a false friend of eventualmente, since the equivalent in Italian of "Eventually, I will come back tomorrow morning." would make sense. – kiamlaluno Apr 16 '13 at 12:37
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    @kiamlaluno The Italian word seems to mean what we would express as if (it proves to be) necessary or in case it is necessary. Eventually means as an outcome or in the event (but not in the event that); it implies that the final result is such and such, but it takes a relatively long time (if said of past events) or an unknown time (if said of future events) to achieve that result. – StoneyB Apr 16 '13 at 12:46
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    You could say "Eventually I will come back tomorrow morning" in contexts less exotic than time travel. If, for example, you expect the night to involve some very difficult struggle. Like, "This is going to be a long night. After work I have to load the refrigerator on the truck all by myself, then drive 300 miles, I'll no doubt have a big argument with Fred when I get there, then the weather report says it will be snowing by the time I head back ... insert more tale of hardship here ... I doubt I'll get any sleep all night, but eventually I'll make it back tomorrow morning." – Jay Apr 16 '13 at 14:14
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I don't know Italian, but from your question I think that the Italian word you are citing has a slightly different meaning.

As MattEllen explains, the English word "eventually" means "after a long time" or "after a great effort and struggle". From your description, the Italian word "eventualmente" means something like "a hope" or "a long term goal that I may or may not attain". This is quite different from the English word. The English word implies that we expect the event to happen. Not a certainly, I suppose, but something that you have every reason to believe will happen. It's very much like if you said, "I will come back tomorrow". I wouldn't say that this means that there is absolutely no possibility that you will NOT come back tomorrow, but you intend to and you have every reason to think you will.

If you said, "My plan is to get a job at a local newspaper and eventually work for 'The Times'", an English-speaker would understand you to mean that you think you really are going to end up at The Times, not just that this is some vague hope or wish.

Of course like any verb, the meaning can be muted if you use qualifiers. If you say, "I want to eventually work for The Times" or "My dream is to eventually work for The Times", then you're explicitly saying that it is not a certainty.

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Eventually is a false friend in many (if not all) Germanic and Latin languages. Eventualmente (Italian, Spanish), éventuellement (French), eventuell (German), eventuellt (Swedish) all mean possibly/maybe.

In English. eventually has a meaning close to finally/ultimately; it does not express uncertainty.

  • Ah, interesting! I would probably note that in English, it probably means something more like "after some time has/had passed", since I can't imagine substituting eventually for finally in, say, a recipe, or a procedural text. – jimsug Jun 25 '14 at 9:56
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This is a summary, so it's likely the writer uses "eventually" to mean "a lot of stuff happens that I'm not going into detail about." It implies that it doesn't happen quickly or immediately.

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