Monday, December 04, 2006

All right...I mean...alright...I mean...


Okay, I know language changes. Spoken faster than written, but written also changes. What was once unacceptable becomes common place, the norm. (Kind of like using a phrase like "the norm.") I get that. Hell, I'm guilty of pushing that envelope myself. Often.

But there's one thing I haven't been able to do. I think the blame goes to my high school English teacher, Mr. Byrd. (Mr. Larry Byrd, by the way...ironically the coach of the varsity basketball team.) Maybe it wasn't him, but that's what my foggy memory is telling me this morning. It's the phrase all right vs. the word alright.

I get it. Alright even looks good to me. But I just can't right it. (I've made an exception for this post. It's painful, but I'm doing it for the good of all.) Any time I come to the point where I need to write the phrase/word, I opt for the phrase. This goes true for both description and dialogue. In THE CLEANER you will never see an "alright." It will always be "all right." Unless I made a mistake somewhere that is.

I don't know why I continue to have this hang up. I just do. I've tried to shake it, but it won't go away.

So my questions to you are: 1) where do you come down on the Alright vs. All Right issue? 2) What grammatical pet peeves do you have that have become accepted by most everyone else?

8 comments:

Sandra Ruttan said...

When in doubt, I use okay. Cheating, I know...

I have a pet peeve with "till". You see, when you drop letters off a word or in a contraction you put an apostrophe there. Like, I'd or tellin'. But when people say, "I've got to wait till morning...." that's technically wrong. It should be "I've got to wait 'til morning." The word being shortened is until - they aren't talking about a cash register.

The thing is, everyone does it. So I wrote it that way. And got soundly chastised. But I pick up books, get emails from multi-published authors... till.

I hate things like that. And I went through this on my ms with possessives on names ending in 's'. You don't even want to hear the background dug up on the rule. I was told to write it Douglas' baby - by my editor. But on my bookshelf I have Rebus's Scotland. Technically, if you delve deep enough, both are right, but most people do 's. My book just has '. I did what I was told to do, but I expect someone to hit me over the head for it.

Oh, and another... aloud and out loud. I'm always confused...

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Hey, I always use "all right." But then my copy editor went through KISS HER GOODBYE and changed every single one of them to "alright."

Go figure.

spyscribbler said...

I know it's becoming in vogue (or is en vogue?) lately to use the word "For" to start a sentence, but it drives me crazy! Like, "For he was not a kind man."

I don't know why it drives me batty, but it does. I'm one to break all sorts of grammar rules, usually!

Bryon Quertermous said...

I think I use alright, but I think spell checker may change it and I'm not sure I have a real opinion on it one way or the other. I do not, though, and will never like the use of the word their as a gender non-specific replacement for his or hers. Booooo.

Anonymous said...

All right. When I see "alright," I draw my weapon (an eraser).

I don't like "irregardless," and I don't like the way everyone in the world now uses the phrase "begging the question" to mean "raising the question" when it really refers to circular logic. Grrr.

Rob, so far my editor hasn't touched my "all rights", which is good.

Lori G. Armstrong said...

Ooh, I don't like alright and can't make myself use it. I type out all right, but usually, I try to find a better phrase that doesn't make my hair stand on end.

And using "till" is accepted - listed in Merriam Webster as a conjunction - but I agree, I like the way 'til looks on the page.

Now if I could just convince my editors that nevermind is one word...

KateL said...

I dislike alright, prefer all right. I prefer 'til when it's the contraction. And I wish I were to the point of having an agent and/or editor to debate such issues!

I'm also curious whether it's a typo or wordplay in the 3rd paragraph, when you say "But I just can't right it."

Brett Battles said...

Katel...HA! You got me. The technical term for that is "a mistake." I wish it had been on purpose. Good one.