Lots of people are confused about using alright, as opposed to all right.
This issue has come up three times in the last few days, so …
Here are a few points that might clear things up, without getting too technical.
- All right is never going to be wrong (no pun intended). So, if in doubt, use that option.
- Alright, although some of us dislike it, is becoming more acceptable, particularly in written dialogue and less formal writing.
- A lot depends on the meaning of all right. It can mean:
– OK, or fine, as in I’m all right.
– Agreed, as in All right, I’ll do it.
– For sure, as in He was a crook, all right.
In these cases, alright is an alternative – but be prepared for arguments from purists.
- There are some cases when alright is not all right.
Consider this: You are all right. Without explanation, it is ambiguous. Why?
Because this time we are not trying to say, You are OK. (in which case alright would be fine to use).
Instead, we want to say, Every single one of you is right.
So, to make our meaning clear, we must write, You are all right — i.e., Not one of you is wrong.
The bottom line is that some people — even the purists — recognise that sometimes there is ambiguity, as in the above example. They might choose to use alright as an alternative, for clarity, as these examples show:
You are all right means You are all correct, you clever things!
You are alright means You are OK, thank goodness.
Does this help?
All right / Alright!