Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Alright Versus All Right

Okay folks, what's your take on this: Alright versus All right.

Me? I'm more of an "alright" kinda gal, but is "alright" even a word? Well, that depends on who you ask. According to Encarta, Alright means "satisfactory: in a generally good, satisfactory, or pleasing way" when used as an adverb, and "pleasant: generally good, satisfactory, or pleasant" when used as an adjective.

Okay, that sounds alright to me. So, what's the problem? Well, Encarta also says:

Alright has never gained wide acceptance even though it is to be seen in the prose of many well-known writers such as Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, and James Joyce. It is generally regarded as nonstandard, and so should be avoided in formal writing unless it is purposely included in fictional dialogue or another special context in which a particular effect is sought by the writer. Use instead all right, which has all the meanings, including "satisfactory," associated with alright.

Grammar Girl
basically says the same thing (I'm paraphrasing here) - "All right" is the correct spelling of the phrase, but "alright" is gaining popularity.

Oh the love of the English language and its constant flux. Honestly, I could really go either way with this one - I'm a fan of "alright" but Encarta's reasoning does make sense. What about you? Care for one spelling over the other?

1 comment:

Laura Martone said...

I'm with your first take, Steph. I prefer using "alright" in my fiction... one, because I actually think it looks better than "all right" and, two, because I take any and all opportunities to cut down on word count. I know, it's kinda cheating, but when your novel is as long as mine is, you do whatever you can. I also use "awhile" instead of "a while" - and dictionaries will say the same thing about that one, too. "A while" is standard - but I say poop on that. :-)