Usage and Grammar

Q. Which one is correct: “alright” or “all right”?

A. Dictionaries and style manuals still tend to indicate that alright is less legitimate than all right. The quasi- or nonstandard status of alright might be compared to that of the one-word forms of the compounds under way and a lot, both of which, to varying degrees, have had to resist the urge to merge. Context is everything. Alright is all right for rock ’n’ roll, but if you’re concerned about appearing to stand on the favored side of the “sociological divide,” as Fowler’s would have it, you will want to write all right (see the third edition, s.v. “all right,” which notes, among other things, that alright seems to be popular in the personal correspondence of “the moderately educated young”). In the case of all right versus alright, however, all this is plainly rather arbitrary—as may already be altogether obvious.