spelling: combinations with all

The final l in all is usually dropped when all and another word are combined into one:

  • all together (in a group) but altogether (entirely)
  • all ready (entirely prepared) but already (before this time)

In the examples above, note that the meaning changes when the two words are collapsed into one, with al as a prefix. Thus, all together and altogether are two separate terms, as are all ready and already.

Is alright all right?

In contrast, with the phrase all right and its disputed variant alright, there is no meaning change (and therefore no need for the variant form).

The spelling all right is the standard one; alright is widely criticized and should be avoided in formal writing.

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