Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ain't Ain't a Word Either

I pride myself on my writing. The world is filled with a multitude of writers far better than I, but I think I am pretty decent at it. I also fancy myself a stickler for grammar. My parents and a few English teachers along the way impressed upon me the importance of proper language and the wisdom found in a Harbrace handbook. Remember this old friend?

I still have my copy from 1985. I should pull it out and refresh my memory a bit. A good friend and avid reader of my blog recently brought to my attention a grammatical error that I have been making frequently in many of my blog posts. Seems I have been making one particular mistake alot.
To make me aware of my erring ways, my friend sent a simple email saying only this:  "a lot".
To which I replied, "?????"
To which she replied, "alot is not a word."
My friend pointed out that while she really enjoys my posts, my use of alot was more than she could stand, being a grammar stickler herself. I understand her pain. It drives me crazy when people do Stuff. Like.This. For. Effect. since this breaks all manner of grammar and punctuation rules. But I get that the blogging world is a whole different place than English class so I let it slide and just quickly read on to the next properly punctuated blog post section.

It seems I use alot frequently. I also use a lot almost as frequently. And my friend is right; alot is not a word. I knew that at one point in life I am sure. But as a blogger, I had forgotten.

I perused several of my old posts looking for alot and a lot and I found them both. Their appearances have no rhyme or reason and sometimes they even both showed up within the same post. I'd like to blame my use of alot on my Southern roots and call it a colloquialism. So I will. I use alot for effect. And sometimes I use a lot for another effect.

I am glad my friend brought this to my attention. I like knowing the right way to do things. I don't know that I will use alot anymore, at least not without consciously thinking about it...
a lot. And if I do, that ain't all bad, is it? Afterall, It's Just. A. Blog.


  1. My attitude is this: If you know the rules and break them intentionally, then it's artistic license.

    Ain't. A. Thing.


  2. For you early readers of this post, I corrected my misspelling. (Not going to say what it was now that it is fixed!) I need a proofreader!

  3. No it ain't that bad :)

    I am a stickler for grammar as well. 'a lot' and 'at least' are both pet peeves of mine.

    But you know what... I can't for the life of me remember which "its" or "it's" is ever correct for a given situation.

  4. I planned on giving you alot for Christmas this year....... but since alot aint a word we will call it even!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. This is funny. I feel exactly the same way. I really should brush off my copy, too!

  6. As a former Language Arts teacher, I understand.

    Though, blog writing seems to have its own set of rules. I AM guilty of not using proper grammar all the time, to make a point in my writing. Or to have the post read the way that I would speak, since I see it as a conversation.

  7. When I'm reading a blog post, or even a comment, I definitely notice the accuracy of the writing. A lot.


Whaddaya think about that?