What's the Difference Between Altogether and All Together?

Even though the word altogether and the phrase all together are pronounced the same way, they function quite differently in a sentence. These words are commonly confused, but as you will see they are not interchangeable in how they are used in the English language. So, what's the difference between altogether and all together? Read on!

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Defining Altogether and All Together

The word altogether is used as an adverb. It means that something is complete or encompasses everything or everyone. It can be used in place of the words wholly, totally or all in all.

The words all together are never used as an adverb. It is simply a phrase that means everyone or everything gathered, or in a group. It is used to refer to someone or something in the same place or time.

Examples of Altogether and All Together

Some examples of altogether and all together used in sentences are as follows:

Altogether

  • The principal said that shorts are banned altogether from the dress code.
  • She has altogether too much homework to be fooling around after school.
  • His cars are altogether worth more than my house.
  • We took an altogether new approach to the problem.
  • The repair is going to cost altogether more than I can afford.
  • Altogether, I would say it was a good day.
  • There should be 50 puzzle pieces altogether.
  • We stopped going to the park altogether after we found out about the robbery.

All Together

  • The boys were all together at the game before Jim suddenly ran off.
  • The singer called out to the audience, "All together now, repeat after me!"
  • The hostess asked if we were all together before she found us a table.
  • Place your books all together so we don't forget them in the morning.
  • The last time we were all together was back in December.
  • The dirty clothes were piled all together on the floor of the bedroom.
  • The girls were happy when the teacher put them all together in a group.
  • They left for the concert all together so they could sit next to each other.
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Remembering Which is Which

Keep this in mind when deciding whether to use altogether or all together: Altogether is only used as an adverb. If it can be replaced in the sentence by "completely," "totally" or "on the whole," the single word is the one you need.

Use the phrase all together for all other usages. Think of all together as "everything present" or "all here." For example: "The gang is all together at last!".

One Word or Two?

Altogether and all together are terms that are commonly mixed up in the English language -- despite one being a single word and the other a phrase -- as they are pronounced the same way and their meanings are somewhat similar. The crucial difference is how they are used in a sentence.

Once you master the difference, you can easily end the confusion and use them correctly. Ready to see how many other commonly confused words you can master? Feel free to check out this Commonly Confused Words Worksheet.