Sunday, August 5, 2007

17. The Annoying A Words--A LOT, ALL RIGHT, ASK

Hello Grammar Bloggers once again! I hope you've had a great week and that you're continuing to work on improving any little grammar problems you may have had that we have covered. Practice and you'll soon be the grammar expert in your circle of friends. :-)

Because my last blog was pretty long (and couldn't be helped since LIE and LAY can be complicated), you're going to be able to enjoy a nice short lesson today. Nevertheless, "short" doesn't mean "unimportant". Mercifully, we do have some fairly short and to the point rules and today we'll take a look at three of them:

Three of the most common usage errors we often see deal with the words A LOT (not alot), ALL RIGHT (not alright), and the mispronunciation of ASK.

(1) Simply, there is no such word in our language as ALOT! Never! This error is a nonstandard form and should be avoided always. We do, however, see many, many people write A LOT as one word (alot) , but now you know that doing this is a major boo boo. When you mean a great number of things, use A LOT-- two separate words. Actually, A LOT is overused quite a bit and should be replaced with more specific information whenever possible.

Here's an example:
Ronald has helped his friends A LOT. (You're not seeing the two words together--separate them!)

However, the better sentence would be
Ronald has often helped his friends by sharing his tomatoes with them.

(2) Again, as with ALOT, the word ALRIGHT is a nonstandard form of English and should be deleted from your writing. This problem is seen everywhere-- in published books, newspapers, pamplets, and just about anywhere we see the written word . What are the editors of these publications thinking?

When you mean "everything is correct", use the two words separately--ALL RIGHT (not alright). Here are some examples:

We kids were ALL RIGHT. (Not alright)
Is it ALL RIGHT with you if we come directly? (Not alright)
I'm ALL RIGHT with watching that TV program. (Not alright)

(3) The final mistake has become increasingly common, although this one is strictly a pronunciation error -- saying AX/AXE for ASK.

Just turn on your TV or listen to people all over the place and you'll hear things such as

"Libby AXED him if he would lend her a pencil..." or

" Let me AXE her where she's going..."

Granted, it's probably easier to say AXE than ASK, but that doesn't mean you should do it. If we keep on AXING people the way we're doing it now, we're all going to end up a bunch of murderers on death row.

Well, that's it for today, Y'all! I hope you'll jump on this lesson like a hawk on a bitty. Enjoy your week and do let me hear from you when you need a grammar question answered. Peace and happiness to you all, GG


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