Saturday, April 30, 2011

All right vs Alright

Recently, Nathan Bransford mentioned that his usage of ‘alright’ brought out the ‘all right’ police. Which one is the correct term?
Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say.

All right :
1. satisfactory,agreeable
2. safe, well
3. good, pleasing – often used as a generalised term of approval
Alright means the same thing, though the usage of it is questioned. Alright appeared around 75 years after all right reappeared (apparently it had gone out of usage). Some critics still hold that alright is not the correct usage, and my own spell checker (UK English) shows it as a spelling error.

However, alright remains in use by some people, and was used by, among others, Gertrude Stein, a poet and writer, so I think using it is fine either way. Unless your editor insists on changing it.

All right – Used more often (and perhaps more in formal writing, I’m not sure).
Alright – Used less often, however it is common in fiction dialogue.


  1. I think the important thing is not to switch between the two in the same story. Looks messy.

    Moody Writing

  2. Haha, yeah. Pick a style and stick with it.