Despite what rock 'n' roll seems to think, alright is not all right! Is this a battle worth fighting?
The American Heritage Dictionary says alright is Nonstandard. All right. And if you look at the usage note at all right you’ll see “Despite the appearance of alright in works of such well-known writers as Langston Hughes and James Joyce, the single word spelling has never been accepted as standard.
The OED dos not say alright is a word; it says: “a frequent spelling of all right. And here’s the 1926 entry by Fowler: 1926 H. W. FOWLER Mod. Eng. Usage 16/1 There are no such forms as all-right, allright, or alright, though even the last, if seldom allowed by the compositors to appear in print, is often seen..in MS.
Word Court says: Alright is emphatically not standard English.
Woe Is I says: No, alright is not all right–it’s all wrong!
Usage and Abusage says: alright is an incorrect spelling of a all right and an illogical form thereof. All right is just an amplified form of right . . . as in “He’s all right . . .”
Rules for Writers says: All right is written as two words. Alright is nonstandard.
Elements of Style says: All right. Idiomatic in familiar speech as a detached phrase . . . Properly written as two words.
The Columbia Guide to Standard American English says: All right is the only spelling Standard English recognizes.
Words Into Type says: alright. For all right–not accepted.
St. Martin’s Handbook says: All right is always two words, not one.
A Writer’s Reference says All right is written as two words. Alright is nonstandard.
The Modern Writers Handbook says: Always write all right as two words, not as alright.
Write 101.com says: Another term that suffers the same fate is all right; it's not alright. Things are never alwrong, why should they be alright?
Common Errors in English says: The correct form of this phrase has become so rare in the
popular press that many readers have probably never noticed that it is actually two words. But if
you want to avoid irritating traditionalists you'd better tell them that you feel "all right" rather than "alright.”
The Hutchinson Dictionary of English Useage says: The answers are all right may mean that all
of them are correct or that they are satisfactory on the whole. Some people would like to use
alright to avoid confusion, but all right is considered correct. It is possible that alright will one
day be accepted (as already and altogether have been), but for now it is better to rewrite the
sentence: all the answers are right or the answers are satisfactory.
The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage says: The use of all right, or inability to see that there
is anything wrong with alright, reveals one's background, upbringing, education, etc., perhaps as
much as any word in the language.
The Ultralingua English Dictionary says: alright, Nonstandard.
The UVic’s Writer’s Guide says: Alright is currently unacceptable as a written word, though the
situation is likely to change. In the meantime, write it as two separate words.
Encarta says: Some people think the one-word spelling is justified by the analogy of already and
altogether, and that it is sometimes useful to be able to distinguish between all right and alright
(just like altogether and all together): The answers were alright (= satisfactory). The answers were
all right (= all correct). Though alright is generally considered nonstandard it is often used in
1001 Commonly Misspelled Words says: all right. This expression is generally spelled as two words.
Errors in English and Ways To Correct Them says: Alright is analogous to altogether and already . . . but is not yet acceptable in standard English.
Webster’s II New College Dictionary says: Alright is nonstandard for all right.
New Oxford American Dictionary says: Although found widely, alright remains nonstandard.
A Dictionary of Modern American Usage says: Already for all ready has never been accepted as standard in American English.
The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style says: All right. So spelled. The one-word spelling has never been accepted as standard in American English.
Practical English Usage says: The standard spelling is all right.
To be fair, the Mirriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary disagrees: The one-word spelling alright
appeared some 75 years after all right itself had reappeared from a 400-year-long absence. Since
the early 20th century some critics have insisted alright is wrong, but it has its defenders and its
users. It is less frequent than all right but remains in common use especially in journalistic and
And I understand the Scrabble dictionary says it’s a word. So you can use alright in your next Scrabble game. And I should add that Word's spell-check program has not detected any spelling errors.
This book blogger really doesn't appreciate my home town: "Obviously, the four of us drove around past the nudie bars and automotive spring repair shops on the outskirts of town until we hit Worcester Center. We briefly got lost in the Abandoned Warehouse district, and then stumbled upon the Gentrified Abandoned Warehouse district, featuring loft condos (natch), a discount meat store (”We Towed You So” emblazoned cheerfully across the parking lot) . . ."
Our Republican Governor has decided that off shore drilling is imperative. Here's Connie May Fowler's response. (Scrool down a bit.) How about spending money on alternative energy, on mass transit instead of more of the same short-sighted and ultimately doomed enterprise?
My nephew Jason was honored last night in Worcester. I once held him on my lap for the eight-hundred mile drive from Worcester to Charleston, South Carolina, with my sister. That was before we knew about car seats. Spent a night in a motel in Monck's Corner.
Our pal Mitch Alderman has a new sotry in this month's Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. But you'll have to buy it on the newsstands to read it. Mitch is an FIU MFA and is now living in Wyoming.