A Lot vs. Alot vs. Allot

Learn when it's appropriate to use a lot vs. alot vs. allot with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct and incorrect usages.
Author:
Publish date:

Learn when it's appropriate to use a lot vs. alot vs. allot with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct and incorrect usages.

Image placeholder title

It's easy enough to let people know when I have "a little" of something, but it can be trickier taking it the other way. After all, there are quite a few popular, though maybe incorrect, spellings available to people who wish to indicate they have "a lot" of something.

Image placeholder title

A Lot vs. Alot vs. Allot

A lot is a phrase that can be used appropriately in a lot of situations. The word lot can be used as a noun, verb, pronoun, or adverb. When you say, "I play a lot of soccer," you're using lot as an adverb; when you say, "I have a lot of marbles," you're using lot as a pronoun. As a noun, lot is a collection or group of people or things. As a verb, you can lot a bigger whole or set into smaller lots.

Alot is not a word. That is, unless you subscribe to Hyperbole and a Half's theory that the Alot is an magical creature. Click here for a good laugh and maybe some practical understanding of the difference between a lot and alot.

Finally, allot is a verb that means to give or assign to someone as a share or task. For instance, I may allot $20 to each of my children when we go to a festival to spend as they'd prefer. They, in turn, may allot $10 for games, $5 for candy, and $5 for entertainment.

Make sense?

If not, here are a couple examples:

Correct: I have a lot of baseball cards.
Incorrect: I have alot of baseball cards.

Correct: I run a lot when the weather is nice.
Incorrect: I run alot when the weather is nice.

It may appear we're allotted a lot of ways to say we have much, but remember that alot does not exist. In fact, a good way to remember the best way to write "a lot" when you mean much is to remember its opposite "a little." Both use two words.

Learn more in the online course, Grammar and Mechanics, from Writer's Digest University:

Image placeholder title
Stohlman_10:31

Five Reasons to Write Flash Fiction: Understanding the Literary Love Child of the Short Story and Poetry

In this article, award-winning author Nancy Stohlman breaks down the difference between flash fiction, prose poetry, and short stories and explains what keeps readers on the hook.

Amir

The “Secret Sauce” Necessary to Succeed at a 30-Day Writing Challenge

In this article, author and writing coach Nina Amir lays out her top tips to master your mindset and complete a 30-day writing challenge.

Kane2

Crashing Into New Worlds: Writing About the Unfamiliar

Award-winning crime author Stephanie Kane explains how she builds characters unlike herself and navigates their worlds to create vivid and realistic stories.

plot_twist_story_prompts_without_a_trace_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Without a Trace

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave without a trace.

WDVintage_10_29

Vintage WD: The Truth about True Crime

In this article from July 2000, true crime novelist and former New York Times correspondent Lisa Beth Pulitzer shares with us some key insights for breaking into the true crime genre.

new_agent_alert_barb_roose_books_such_literary_services_adult_christian_fiction_and_nonfiction

New Agent Alert: Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Grinnell_10:28

Evoking Emotion in Fiction: Seven Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

Evoking emotion on the page begins with the man or woman at the keyboard. Dustin Grinnell serves up seven straightforward tactics for writing tear-jerking stories that make your readers empathize with your characters.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 546

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a spooky poem.

Richard_Shadowlands

Learn Better World-Building Strategies Through World of Warcraft and the New Shadowlands Expansion

WD editor and fantasy writer Moriah Richard shares five unique ways in which writers can use World of Warcraft to better build their worlds—without playing the game.