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Altogether I've already had enough of alright Options · View
bethalia
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 10:05:14 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 11/23/2013
Posts: 82
Location: United States
DanielleX's post about lie/lay prompted me to address one of my (many) writing pet peeves.

There is no such word as 'alright.' There is a phrase 'all right.'

I think the word came into use because the words 'already' and 'altogether' are real words, and 'alright' sort of seems like it might be the same sort of adverb.

And you can use 'already,' but also 'all ready,' and 'altogether,' but also 'all together.' That seems the same as the difference between 'alright' and 'all right.' But it's not.

That's because the meaning of the word 'already' is different from the meaning of the phrase 'all ready.' ("I already jerked off." "I am all ready to jerk-off." "Are we all ready to jerk off?")

Similarly, the meaning of the word 'altogether' is different from the meaning of the phrase 'all together.' ("I am altogether exhausted from jerking off." "Altogether, the selection of women at the bar tonight makes me want to just go home and jerk-off." "Are we all together on the importance of jerking off as a sure-fire STD transmission preventer?"

But there is no such distinction in meaning between 'alright' and 'all right.' They both mean the same thing and are used in the same contexts. It's just that the phrase is the correct usage and the word an incorrect usage.

In a way (but only in a way) 'alright' is similar to 'ain't': an incorrect usage. But 'ain't' has real (although not too many) legitimate uses.

'Ain't' can be used in dialogue when characters are speaking informally. Most readers, I think, tend to hear dialogue in their head spoken by the character. So if a character says, "I'm one hell of a good fuck, ain't I?" the meaning is clear, and the usage can sound natural for that character. 'Ain't' replaces 'am I not.' The construction "I'm one hell of a good fuck, am I not?" is more stilted sounding. It's not that a character would never use the latter, but only a certain type of character and in a certain type of situation. The former choice sounds like a more normal usage. But the point is: when a reader reads a line of dialogue and hears in their head, "I'm one hell of a good fuck, ain't I?" they're hearing something very different from, "I'm one hell of a good fuck, am I not." The words are just different and sound different.

But that's not the case with 'all right' and 'alright.' If a character says, "Everything is all right." the reader hears those sounds in his or her head whether the sentence has the correct usage, "Everything is all right." or the incorrect usage, "Everything is alright."

When an author submits work for publication here or anywhere else he or she should strive for correct usages (and punctuation and grammar) all the time. Nonetheless, I run into 'alright' frequently, and I would be entirely all right with never seeing it again.
Tashtego
Posted: Friday, November 29, 2013 2:17:24 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 1/21/2013
Posts: 66
Location: New York City, United States

al·right
[awl-rahyt] Show IPA

adverb
all right.


Can be confused: all right, alright (see usage note at the current entry).


Usage note
The form alright as a one-word spelling of the phrase all right in all of its senses probably arose by analogy with such words as already and altogether. Although alright is a common spelling in written dialogue and in other types of informal writing, all right is used in more formal, edited writing.

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013
bethalia
Posted: Friday, November 29, 2013 6:26:49 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 11/23/2013
Posts: 82
Location: United States
Thanks Tashtego. My dictionary has almost the identical usage note - the idea that alright this is a recently developed corruption of 'all right.' I think the key is the notation (also in my dictionary) that 'all right' is used in more formal, edited writing. I suppose alright is all right in an email to mom. But when someone is writing for publication, as at lushstories and any other place, they should regard what they're writing as edited writing (whether they actually use an editor or not) and stick with proper usages.
RejectReality
Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2013 12:01:07 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/29/2012
Posts: 213
Location: Alternate Reality, United States
I use it occasionally in dialogue. ( No idea if it's used in anything posted here so far )

To me, it's in the same category as "ain't" and "y'all". At least around where I'm from, it's often a single word when spoken ( sounding more like "ul-right" ) and when that's what it sounds like coming out of the character in my head, I use it.

I've seen it used that way in traditional dead-tree fiction as well.

Most of the time, I simply avoid the phrase. It's only when the characters demand it that it goes in.

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