Alot or A Lot: What’s Correct?

Alot is not a word it is actually among the top offenders when it comes to misspellings and grammar errors. This guide will help you understand a lot or alot.

In the English language, there are a lot of commonly misspelled words. Often, these misspellings come from the way a word sounds when spoken. The misspelling “alot” is one of those.

Writers can make their English teachers cringe quickly with the wrong use of “alot.” This word will also trigger problems in grammar checking programs like Grammarly. Yet it is commonly used incorrectly.

This guide will help writers sort it out and use both British and American English properly.

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What Does “Alot” Mean?

Why alot is not a word

Alot” is not a word in the English language, and the correct form of this word is the two-word spelling “a lot.” Sometimes it is also mistakenly spelled as “allot.”

The phrase “a lot” includes the word “lot” and the indefinite article “a.” When combined as “a lot” in informal writing, the indefinite article is simply merged with the word “lot.” However, this is not acceptable in formal writing.

No matter how it is misspelled, any spelling other than “a lot” is incorrect. By cleaning this up in their writing, English writers can polish their writing and make it more professional.

The One Exception

There is one exception to this rule. Alot is actually the name of a town in India. If you are talking about Alot, India, then you are talking about a real word and a real place, but otherwise “alot” is not a real word.

The Meanings of “A Lot”

Since “alot” is not a word, the true question is, “What does a lot mean.” This phrase can be several different parts of speech that are worth looking at individually.

Using “A Lot” as a Noun

Alot is not a word
A lot can be used as a noun and can mean “a large extent, number or amount”

One way to use “a lot” is as a noun. In this use, it can mean “a large extent, number or amount.”

Having a lot of an item is the opposite of having a little of that item.

Here are some examples of using “a lot” as a noun in a sentence:

  • The workload the new manager gave felt like a lot more than in the past.
  • The girl had a lot of homework to finish before she could call her friend.
  • A lot of health problems start with the diet.

Using “A Lot” as an Adverb

“A lot” also can function as an adverb. In this case, it means “to a great extent or degree.” It usually modifies the verb and tells more about how much extent the subject does the action.

Here are some example sentences using “a lot” as an adverb:

  • The card meant a lot after mom passed away. (In this case, “a lot” modifies the verb “meant.”)
  • The time went by a lot faster after the intermission. (In this case, “a lot” modifies the adverb “faster.”)
  • We traveled a lot slower as we passed through the winding mountain roads. (In this case, “a lot” modifies the verb “went.”)

What About “Allot?”

Allot is sometimes a misspelling of a lot, but it is the correct spelling of a completely different verb. Allot as a verb means “to give out or distribute.” This is actually a correctly used word.

Here are some examples:

  • I will allot the necessary money in the budget.
  • You must allot sufficient time to get your chores done.
  • The allotted snacks were not enough for the hungry group of teenagers.

Remembering the Rule   

So how can a writer remember that “alot” and “a lot” are not the same thing? Thinking of the phrase “a whole lot” can help. Though this is not often used in formal writing, it is grammatically correct, and in order to put “whole” in the middle, “a lot” must be used.

Another trick is thinking of “a lot of space.” There is a lot of space between the word “a” and the word “lot” in the proper spelling of the phrase.

The Final Word on Alot is not a word

“Alot” is never correct in formal writing. It is a misspelling of the phrase “a lot.” While it may be acceptable in informal writing and on social media, professional and formal writing needs to use the correct spelling of this phrase.

FAQs on Alot Is Not A Word

Is “alot” in the dictionary?

Even though it is often used in informal writing, “alot” does not hold a space in the Miriam-Webster Dictionary. The idiom “a lot of” does, however.

How do you use “a lot?”

“Alot” is a common misspelling or typo in English. It means “a lot,” and it should always be used as two words.” This phrase can be either a noun or an adverb, depending on its use in the sentence.

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  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.