One Word or Two?


alright or all right

If you look in the dictionary, alright is there, but it still bugs me. I was taught it’s all right, so alright looks alwrong. The original confusion probably came from already, which is a word. But it’s not the same as all ready, is it? Already means so soon, as in “You’re here already? We weren’t expecting you until November.” All ready has a completely different meaning: “The kids are all ready to go, and we’re just waiting for my husband to finish trimming his beard.”


“The salsa tasted all right, but the expiration date was last March.”

“Is it all right with you if I sleep on the lawn?”



a lot

Again, two words. If you write alot, you should be willing to write alittle. (I believe this is another lost cause, but I’m hanging on anyway, old geezer that I am.)


“Eleven dollars? That seems like a lot of money for a coloring book.

“It was a four-hour movie, so we ate a lot of Milk Duds.”

“I like you a lot, Marshall, but I just lost everything in the mudslide, and my pet crocodile needs a root canal.”


no one

Always two words.

“I’m telling you, Ashley, there’s no one under your bed. Besides, monsters always hide in the closet. Good night, Sweetie.”


anywhere, nobody, nowhere, someone, somewhere, sometime, somehow

One word.


a while or awhile

Either is correct.


anyways, anywheres, somewheres, hisself

These are not words! They may very well be in the dictionary.

I don’t know and I don’t care. Writing them will make you sound uneducated, so don’t do it!










(Excerpted from Writing Rules!)