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.
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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.

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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.

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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:

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