Today’s post is something every blogger and author should know. Two common words you’ll find in print–and especially online–aren’t words at all; the first I’ve mentioned in a previous post about my grammar pet peeves: IRREGARDLESS.
“Irregardless” is not, and has never been, a word. The word you want is “regardless,” unless you’re using “irregardless” in dialogue, because the character speaking would use that term over the grammatical option. For some reason, “irregardless” drives me crazy.
The second non-word is ALRIGHT. What you mean to write is “all right.”
People get confused about “alright” because they think of “already,” which is a word, and has a meaning distinct from “all ready.”
- “We’re all ready to go” means everyone involved is prepared to leave.
- “He already left” means the action is over and done with. Temporally, it belongs to the past and is completed.
Similarly, “all together” and “altogether” have different meanings.
- Altogether means “completely” or “utterly.” “We were altogether flabbergasted at the developments.”
- “All together” means “as one” or “in unison.” It can also mean “in one piece.” So, you can say “We sang all together,” or “He wasn’t all together yesterday.”
There is no such distinction between “alright” and “all right.” For any and every usage in a blog or in creative writing, you want “all right.” “Alright” is not a word, according to the dictionary.
If you look up “alright” on dictionary.com, you get this usage note:
The form “alright” as a one-word spelling of the phrase “all right” in all of its senses probably arose by analogy with such words as “already” and “altogether.” Although “alright” is a common spelling in written dialogue and in other types of informal writing, “all right” is used in more formal, edited writing.
If you’re trying to give off an air of authority, or sophistication–and deservedly so, because you know what you’re writing about–you can discredit yourself among a certain sect of readers by using “alright” instead of “all right.”
Would such readers be considered pompous jerks? Perhaps. But they’re still your readers, and you’d still like to communicate your message to them. Why alienate when you can avoid doing that simply by inserting a “l” and pressing a space bar?
So remember: your characters are doing all right. And whatever that you decide to have them do, it’s all right by them.
Something else going all right at the moment is my free promotion of “The Crimson League,” the first novel in my Herezoth trilogy. Today, April 24, is the final day it’s free for download, so don’t forget to snag this sword and sorcery fantasy while you still can!