“All Right” is NOT Alright

This is one of my personal pet peeves. Many editors will say that “alright” is not even a word and that “all right” is the only acceptable usage, but I will absolutely and forever disagree with this.

When I read “all right”, my brain takes that phrase to mean that everything is ideal, perfect, as it should be. It is all right. All of it. Every bit.

But ask a person how they’re doing, and when their shoulders hunch and they mumble out that response, they’re clearly not all right. They’re “alright” (read: “okay”, “fine”, etc.) at best.

Then there are instances of someone agreeing to something:

Request: “I need you to go to the market for me.”

Response: “All right.”

When I read that, I hear the response in a robotic voice (or maybe even something out of Coneheads…please tell me you get that reference!): “He needs me to go to the market. This is ideal.”


Here’s a more blatant example, one taken from multiple novels, as well as from personal life experience. In these stories I’ve read, a main character was subjected to sexual assault or some other trauma. In the aftermath, the MC has a flashback or PTSD episode, and another character asks, “Are you all right?”

NO, THEY’RE NOT BLOODY WELL “ALL RIGHT”. At best, they’re “alright”, but most likely, they’re “all wrong”. Having lived through such a trauma myself, I can tell you that I will never be “all right” again. No matter how well one recovers from such a thing, it’s always still there, a part of you, lingering in the back of your mind, ready to spring out and surprise you at any moment.

Then just look at the insanity that is the world right now (endless wars, governments way out of control, people playing mini-dictator and telling their neighbors how to live or how to spend their money, etc.), and humanity is most definitely not even close to “all right”, not even on a really good day.

So unless a writer uses “all right” and actually means everything is correct or is ideal, the phrase just reads all wrong to me.