alright and all right - the difference

Alright is a nonstandard variant of all right.
Even though alright is becoming more acceptable, it is best avoided.

Alright Not Widely Accepted

Many people use alright unaware that it is not universally accepted as a word. It should be written all right. However, the merger of all right to alright has been underway for over a century, and it is becoming more acceptable. Mergers such as altogether and already are fully acceptable. They are far older than alright.

It's Not Right, and It's Not Wrong

Interestingly, the Microsoft Word spellchecker will not highlight alright as an error, but it will also not suggest alright if you spell it incorrectly. (See screenshot below.)

Therefore, Microsoft is sitting on the fence with regard to alright being accepted as standard.

Alright is Deemed More Modern by Some

Some would even argue that, through common usage, alright is becoming more acceptable than all right. The makers of TV show It'll be alright on the night are known to have considered It'll be all right on the night, but opted for the former as a more modern version.

Screen shot from Word
(1) Does not show alright as an error.
(2) Does not offer alright as an option.

Well-known TV programme
"It'll Be Alright On The Night"




Your readers will have different opinions on the use of alright and all right. Therefore, avoid both versions — especially in formal writing. This should not be difficult as they do not lend themselves to formal writing.

All right (to reinforce an assertion)
  • It is overdue all right.
    (Delete all right or reword: It is substantially overdue.)
  • All right (an interjection that means very well and normally at the start of a sentence)

  • All right, it is time to discuss...
  • (Delete all right or reword: We agree that it is time to discuss...)

    All right (meaning okay, in a satisfactory manner)

  • Her work ethic was all right.
  • (Reword: Her work ethic was satisfactory.)

If you cannot avoid all right or alright, then opt for all right. Using alright, especially in formal writing, runs a higher risk that your readers will view it as an error. It is far more difficult to justify alright than all right.

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