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“Altogether” or “All Together”? What’s The Difference?

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Is it “altogether” or “all together”? These words have distinct meanings and serve different functions in a sentence. Learn more below.

White text over green background reads "altogether vs. all together."
No, “altogether” and “all together” are not interchangeable.
  • Altogether is an adverb that means “entirely,” “wholly,” or “completely.”
    • They had to get rid of their inventory altogether.
  • All together is a phrase that means “all at once” or “in a group.”
    • The players stood all together for the team picture.

“Altogether” vs. “All Together”

Because altogether and all together look so similar and are pronounced the same way, many people believe these words can be interchanged. But in fact, these words are like everyday and every dayeach has a distinct meaning and serves different functions in a sentence.

Below, we’ll go over what these two words mean and teach you an easy trick that’ll help you always use altogether and all together correctly.

What Does “Altogether” Mean?

Altogether is an adverb, meaning it’s a word that describes verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. It means “completely,” “in all,” or “on the whole.”

It drizzled, and then it stopped raining altogether.
Sam owes me $100 altogether.
The event was wonderful. Altogether, we had a great time.

But we try to pretend, you see,
that the external world exists altogether independently of us.
—Alan Watts

What Does “All Together” Mean?

All together is a two-word phrase that means “everyone or everything as a group, at the same place or time.”

The hostess said our party had to be all together before we could be seated.
The last time the family was all together was for Naveah’s birthday.
Mrs. McGuire asked the students to place the blocks all together before returning to their seats.

It’s common for a verb or noun to be placed between the words all together. For example:

After the show, they all left together.
Can you put all the books together, please?

Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air.
—George Bernanos

How To Remember the Difference Between “Altogether” and “All Together”

We understand. It’s hard to believe that altogether and all together are not synonymous. It may seem like it’s impossible to use these two words correctly, but here’s what you need to remember:

  • Altogether is one word and always functions as an adverb.
  • All together is a two-word phrase. If you can rearrange the sentence to add a noun or verb in the middle, then all together is the word you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, altogether and all together are just one of many word pairs that get commonly confused among native speakers and English language learners alike. Thankfully, LanguageTool can detect spelling and grammar errors, as well as suggest stylistic improvements.

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