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Common Mistakes and Confusing Words in English

 

 

all right vs alright

All right has multiple meanings. It can mean ok, acceptable, unhurt.

The single word spelling alright has never been accepted as standard.

However in a search on Google you'll get around 68,700,000 hits for alright and 163,000,000 for "all right". So, it might become a respected alternative spelling. Personally I have no problem with it, but what do other people think:-

Kingsley Amis The King's English 1997: "I still feel that to inscribe alright is gross, crass, coarse and to be avoided, and I now say so. Its interdiction is as pure an example as possible of a rule without a reason, and in my case may well show nothing but how tenacious a hold early training can take."
 
Bill Bryson Troublesome Words 1997: "A good case could be made for shortening all right to alright. ... English, however, is a fickle tongue and alright continues to be looked on as illiterate and unacceptable and consequently it ought never to appear in serious writing."
 
Robert Burchfield The New Fowler's Modern English Usage 1997: "Alright ... is the demotic form. It is preferred, to judge from the evidence I have assembled, by popular sources like the British magazines The Face ... New Musical Express and Sounds, the American magazine Black World, the Australian journal Southerly, the Socialist Worker, by popular singers ... and hardly ever by writers of standing ... It is commonplace in private correspondence, especially in that of the moderately educated young. Almost all other printed works in Britain and abroad use the more traditional form ... "  
(At which point in there did you first get the urge to smack him?)
 
Graham King The Times Writer's Guide 2001: If we accept already, altogether and almost, why not alright? Although it carries with it the whiff of grammatical illegitimacy it is and has been in common use for a century ..."

Personally "all right" always reminds me of this old joke:-


Confusing Words

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