Writing Tips: Everything’s all right, alright?

Handy writing tips

When my clients ask for writing tips, I often share them this way.

Lots of people are confused about using alright, as opposed to all right.

This issue has come up several times recently, so …

Here are a few tips that might clear things up, without getting too technical.

All right or Alright?

  • 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.

It could mean You are OK. (in which case alright would be fine to use).

But if we want to say, Every single one of you is right, then alright would certainly not be an alternative.

In this case, we must write, You are all right — i.e., Not one of you is wrong.

The problem is that there is still ambiguity, as in the above example. This is why some people 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!

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