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All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 22nd, 2010, 9:21 pm
by taylormillgirl
I know that the word alright isn't really a word; the proper term is all right. But rumor has it that alright is slowly gaining acceptance. (Rumor = I read it online, but I can't remember the source.)

To me, this looks weird:
"Are you all right?"
And this looks natural:
"Yeah, I'm alright."

Your thoughts? Will agents and editors get palpitations if my MS if full of alrights? I'd hate to send anyone into cardiac distress.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 22nd, 2010, 9:47 pm
by Holly
The Grammar Girl website has an interesting discussion here: ... right.aspx

In summary, GG says alright is a misspelling of all right and writers should stay away from it, although alright is gaining a small footing.

My rule of thumb: if Stephen King uses it (and I don't know if he does), then it's okay.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 22nd, 2010, 10:07 pm
by taylormillgirl
Ha! I like that rule of thumb.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 22nd, 2010, 10:38 pm
by Jaime
I'm an 'all right' girl. I'm sticking to the proper use of the English language while it still exists :)

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 22nd, 2010, 10:43 pm
by Dankrubis
Personally, I like combining the two. Goes along with my informal writing style.

But the problem is, some people use "alright" and don't even know it's not a word. Therefore, when someone who knows it's not a word sees you using it, they can either think, "Oh, what a rebel, combining all and right into one word," or "Wow, he/she don't know that alright isn't a word." They may think the former, but they're probably gonna think the latter, and you don't want people thinking the latter.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 23rd, 2010, 11:37 am
by JustineDell
I can't remember which publishing house had it listed on their website, but they made it very clear that is should be "all right" and not "alright". I found the info when I was looking over submission guidelines. It may have been Red Sage or something along those lines, publishers who accepts submissions from unagented writers. I found it on the same page that said "Edit your ms within an INCH OF YOUR LIFE." (yes, it was all in captital letters)

Do I agree? Not really. The example you posted showed me what I already knew "alright" looks alright in a sentence and all right looks Alias, I will do what I am instructed to do based on what I read regarding submission guidelines. You know what they say about those, right? Read them, learn them, adhere to them.


Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 23rd, 2010, 5:58 pm
by lmjackson
I feel like "alright" is used when a person is confirming something like:
"Hey, we decided to go for ice cream instead."
"Alright, just let me know when you're leaving."

But as long as you're consistent it--hopefully--shouldn't matter too much.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 24th, 2010, 12:40 am
by polymath
Alright is in definition dictionaries and usage dictionaries; however, so is irregardless. All right, itself, was out of vogue for hundreds of years, until the early 19th Century. Seventy-five years later, alright came back in, circa 1880s. Alright is mostly a dialect word used in descriptive usages. Prescriptively, it's not quite as out of favor as irregardless.

'round hearabouts, we-ins don't have much use of neither all right nor alright. We-all say, a'ight, gotcha bubba.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 25th, 2010, 6:27 pm
by Scott
Much prefer "alright". It's closer to how the word is said and read, both aloud and in the head.

Dammit, Dr. Suess has taken over my body again.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 25th, 2010, 11:32 pm
by Matera_the_Mad
I made a conscious decision to keep it two words. I shall not budge. And I don't give an aerial sex act what S. King does.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 26th, 2010, 12:14 pm
by taylormillgirl
It took me a few seconds to decipher aerial sex act, but then I giggled.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 28th, 2010, 7:31 pm
by D. G. Hudson
I prefer alright, but have been corrected about its usage by an author that I know. I also preferred using OK, but have been corrected to use 'okay' instead. What is in current use in polite society isn't always what's in use on the street.

The lack of attention given to correct spelling seems to be concurrent with our 'fast-messaging' abilities these days. Whatever is fastest and takes the least amount of effort seems to be what's in general use. The fact remains, the power to kill a manuscript lies with the editor or agent, so the author should follow their submission guidelines. BUT -- I just wonder if the same rules apply to dialogue. If it is considered colloquial, then it may be allowed.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: January 29th, 2010, 5:47 pm
by abc
Makes me think of that Jesus Christ Superstar song "Everything's Alright" which I always find myself singing while alone (Judas part and all). Ah, the musicals.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: February 1st, 2010, 12:57 pm
by courtneyv
"All right" is preferred, so in narrative I use it, unless I'm in First Person, then it’s on a case by case basis)

I DO however, use "alright" in dialogue or thought when it's an exclamation or question.

{"Alright! Who made this mess?" or "Alright? Why are you acting so weird?"]

...and not a state of being or a predicate adjective...

["I'm all right, feeling much better now that my migraine's gone." or "The pie was all right. I've had better."]

It should be recognized as one word because in today's English dialect, there's a definite difference between all right and alright.

Re: All right vs. Alright

Posted: February 2nd, 2010, 5:52 am
by Fallen
polymath wrote:Alright We-all say, a'ight, gotcha bubba.
Lol. Go dialect diversity. And over this end... Yo awright, mate? I'm orright if you're orright.

As for alright V all right...? Descriptivism v Presciptivist hmmm... Depends on my characters, I suppose. There's a distinct phonetic difference between saying 'all right' and running into the more colloquial feel of 'alright'. Context would be the decider, I think. Just so long as kept in line with showing character and not authorial usage.