Friday, May 13, 2011

It's "a lot," not "alot"

One of the most common spelling errors I've seen over the last decade or so has been the usage of the non-word "alot," in place of the proper two-word phrase "a lot."  A lot - two words, often followed by the word "of"unless it falls at the end of a sentence - means many, or a great deal.  An easy way of remembering this is to mentally use the phrase "a whole lot," which will serve as a reminder that there is a space between the words "a" and "lot."  (Check out Common Errors in English Usage 2nd Edition.)

The confusion about the nonexistent word "alot" may have stemmed from the actual word "allot," which means "to assign as a share" or "to distribute by lot."  (Source: Merriam-Webster.)

Thanks a lot for reading!

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