You’ve probably seen both alright and all right used in different ways, or maybe even in the same way. But how can you tell which way is correct? Keep reading to learn when you should use alright vs. all right in different types of sentences.
Alright vs. All Right: Differences and Correct Use
Difference Between Alright and All Right
The only difference between alright and all right is that one is an accepted spelling and the other isn’t. Even though alright is becoming increasingly popular in casual writing, all right is the only acceptable spelling of the phrase in American English. British English does accept alright in informal settings, but prefers all right in formal writing.
How to Use All Right
There are three situations in which you may find yourself using all right. They vary in formality, depending on the conversational context. All of these situations require all right instead of alright. However, if you’re used to using alright, they may seem incorrect to you.
All Right as an Adjective
The most common way to use all right is when using it to describe a noun as a synonym for “okay.” You can use it after verbs like be, look, feel, and seem, but not usually before the noun (unless the writing is very casual, such as “That’s an all right idea.”) This is the most common way that people mix up all right and alright.
One way to use all right as an adjective is to describe something as “fine” or “satisfactory.”Some examples include:
- My trip was all right.
- The weather seems all right now that the rain has stopped.
- This dress looks all right on me.
- Your business proposal seems all right to our team.
Another way to use all right as an adjective is when depicting something as “safe” or “well.” For example:
- I was injured in the accident, but I’m all right now.
- Are you all right? I saw you fall off the curb.
- You’ll be all right after a little rest and hydration.
- Do you feel all right after hearing the bad news?
All Right as an Adverb
You can use all right as an adverb to describe an action performed in a satisfactory way. Using all right in this way
- I did all right on the history exam.
- The basketball team plays all right on the road, but much better at home.
- Are you doing all right today?
- The stereo sounds all right to me.
All Right as an Interjection
Since “okay” can be an interjection to mean “fine” or “I’m complying,” you can use all right in the same way. Here are some examples of all right as an interjection:
- All right! I’ll clean my room!
- All right, I understand.
- I passed my driver’s test, all right!
- All right, let’s get going before the restaurant closes.
Why Do People Use Alright?
Many users confuse alright with a number of English phrases that begin with the word all and that have been shortened in everyday writing. They have separate meanings from their unshortened versions. These phrases include:
- already – having happened before now
- all ready – being completely ready, or everyone is ready
- altogether – wholly, or all things considered
- all together – everyone or everything together
- always – at all times
- all ways – every way possible
It would be easy to put alright and all right in this category. However, unlike the words above, there is no difference between the meanings of alright and all right, and therefore no reason to use alright in any situation.
Alright in the Dictionary
Learning the difference between these phrases can be especially confusing because alright is an entry in most dictionaries. The dictionary often adopts words that have fallen into common usage, including chillax, awesomesauce, and noob. However, like alright, these words do not belong in formal writing.
Commonly Confused Words
It’s easy to mix up alright and all right. Now that you know the difference between these words, choosing the right one should be easier for you next time. For more information about commonly confused words, check out an article about the difference between snuck and sneaked.