Today’s Writing Tip: All Right, Already, and Altogether

sig2010All right, already, and altogether are phrases that may confuse writers. When are they one word and when are they two?

Let’s start with all right. The one word version is slang. It’s not acceptable and you won’t find it in a proper dictionary.

Altogether is another story. Let’s say that my uncle died and the family assembled to celebrate his life. We were all together at the funeral. And when I added up the cost of my hotel room in my airfare, altogether the bills amounted to $1000. Both versions are adverbs, but the one word version means completely or entirely whereas the two word version refers to a group of something – people, books, things.

Likewise with already. I had already finished my homework means I had completed it before the due date. But if I was going out for coffee with a group of friends, I could say, “We are all ready.” Another way to think of the latter is, “All of us are ready.”

Sigrid Macdonald is the author of three books, including Be Your Own Editor and two erotic short stories, which she wrote under the pen name Tiffanie Good. Silver Publishing released “The Pink Triangle,” a tale of friendship, lust, and betrayal. You can view her story here: