All Right or Alright?

All right or alright

All right or alright?

Lots of people are confused about which to use.

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. So, if in doubt, use that option.

Alright, although some people dislike it, is becoming more acceptable, particularly in written dialogue and less formal writing. There are some contexts, however, when it is not the right choice.

It all depends on the meaning, of course.

 All right 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 each of these cases, alright is definitely an alternative – but be prepared for arguments from purists.

When it’s all wrong

There are some cases, though, when alright might not be OK at all. It depends on what we mean to say.

Think about these two alternatives:

You are alright    OR    You are all right

We might mean You are OK. If so, both alternatives are correct.

But if we mean to say: Every single one of you is right, then alright would certainly not be the right word.

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

Bottom line: The problem comes up when there is ambiguity, as in the above case. That’s why some people choose to use alright as an alternative, for clarity, as these examples show:

  • You are all right ,meaning You are all correct, you clever things!
  • You are alright, meaning You are OK, thank goodness.

Does this help?

Good. That’s all right/alright then!

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