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Understanding The Difference Between “Alright” and “All Right”

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All right is always accepted, whereas alright is controversial. Learn more about these two words below.

White text over green background reads "alright vs all right."
Do you prefer to use “alright” or “all right”?
  • Although some people defend the use of alright, others strongly believe it is the incorrect form of the word all right.
  • All right and alright can sometimes be used interchangeably, depending on the context. However, some argue that the use of one alternative over the other can change the meaning of the sentence.
  • Because all right is always acceptable and alright is still controversial, you should stick to using all right, especially if you’re writing in a formal setting.

“Alright” vs. “All Right”

We’re just going to come out and say it: There is no consensus when it comes to alright and all right. While some staunchly oppose alright, others believe it is the evolved version of all right (comparable to already and always).

Below, we’re going to cover the different definitions and functions of these two words. We’re also going to show you how using one over the other can cause ambiguity in a sentence.

Alright or all right, alright vs all right
The American actor Matthew McConaughey popularized the quote “alright, alright, alright.” But technically, it could also be spelled as “all right, all right, all right.”

Definitions of “Alright” and “All Right”

Now, let’s get to the different definitions and functions of these two words.

Using “Alright” in a Sentence

Alright can function as an adjective, adverb, or affirmative statement.

I reviewed his homework and saw that his answers were alright.
My dancing coach said I performed alright.
She asked if I could watch her cat and I said, “alright.”
(Affirmative statement)

Using “All Right” in a Sentence

All right can also function as an adjective, adverb, and affirmative statement.

Stephanie’s teacher told us that her answers on the quiz were all right.
I was playing all right until someone’s phone started ringing.
All right, don’t worry. I’ll slow down.
(Affirmative statement)

Take a look at alright and all right being used as adjectives and adverbs. This is where many people claim the issue lies. They claim that all right means “correct,” whereas alright means “adequate,” and therefore they cannot be interchanged. However, according to Merriam-Webster, all right can mean both “correct” and “adequate.” In other words, all right can do anything alright can.

So, Is It “Alright” or “All Right”?

There may come the time when we write about how all right has evolved to alright. However, that day hasn’t come yet. As it is, all right is the always acceptable variation of this word, whereas the use of alright may come with some backlash.

That being said, if you’re writing in a formal setting, it’s best to use all right. If you’re writing in a casual or more colloquial way, and the use of alright doesn’t bother you (or your audience), then go ahead and use it. While the use of all right vs. alright is up in the air still, there are other words that cannot be interchanged (illicit vs. elicit, for example). These word pairs can be confusing, so it’s a good idea to use LanguageTool as your writing assistant. This multilingual text editor ensures you always use the correct word and also checks for other common grammar mistakes. Try it out today.

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