Alot or A Lot – How to Use It Correctly

enhancedwriting/ September 2, 2017/ Uncategorized

alot versus a lot

What’s the Difference Between A Lot and Alot?

A lot and alot might seem like alternate spellings of the same word. However, this is not the case. Alot is simply a common misspelling of a lot.

A lot is an expression that means a large number or a great quantity.

  • There are a lot of people who live in New York City.

Alot is an incorrect way to spell a lot. Many people think that because a lot is pronounced without a pause between the two words that it is okay to spell the two words without a space between them. However, these are actually two separate parts of speech: the article a and a noun lot.

  • Look at all the sand on this beach! There’s alot. (Incorrect spelling – use a lot instead)

Let’s look at some of the ways to use, and not use, these words in English.

Using A Lot in a Sentence

When to use a lot: A lot is actually just the word lot with the article a in front of it. It has the same meaning as a great amount or a large number.

For example:

  • We need a lot of ice for all the people at this party and their drinks.
  • Today it rained a lot.

A lot also appears in many idioms and expressions, some of which appear below:

  • to have a lot on one’s plate: to have many things to do or be responsible for
    • You’re a full time father, businessman, and volunteer. Of course you have a lot on your plate!
  • that says a lot about someone or something: an action shows the character of a person or other thing
    • He’s a famous actor but he donates most of what he earns to good causes. That says a lot about him.
  • to have a lot of nerve: to be brazen or audacious (usually used in an accusatory manner)
    • You have a lot of nerve to steal my dog and then come ask me for money!

A lot often appears followed by of when it is important to know what there is a lot of.

Using Alot in a Sentence

When to use Alot: Alot is not a word at all, so you shouldn’t ever use it. It’s just a common misspelling of a lot.

For example:

  • I need to make alot of cash in a short amount of time. (incorrect spelling – use a lot instead)
  • Did you see any llamas in Peru? Apparently there are alot there. (incorrect spelling – use a lot instead)

Some words are used together so often that they become a compound word over time and the development of English. A lot has not yet turned in to one of those words.

Remembering A Lot vs. Alot

One way to help you remember to use a lot and avoid alot is to use their spellings and grammatical rules.

Try to think of a lot this way: The expression is two separate words because lot is actually a noun means a big amount. Just as you need a before big amount, you must use a before lot. Likewise, you cannot combine a and big to say abigamount just as you cannot combine a and lot.

Outside Examples

  • “I really enjoy the golf course,” McCarron said. “The par 5s I can get to. I drive one of the par 4s, so if I’m driving it well, I’ll have a lot of wedges in my hand and if I can hit the wedges good I’ll have some good opportunities.” –Houston Chronicle
  • “The pressure is on them,” Oakley said. “They’re making a lot of money. The major leagues are very unforgiving. Expectations are there. They’ve got to perform. If anything comes up that gets in the way of that, the pressures can bounce really quickly.” –LA Times
  • “The phase we’re in, what we’re looking to do and acquiring all these players, there is a lot of work to be done,” he said. “None of us are satisfied and we’ll never be satisfied because we want to grow these players into what we envision them to be. It’s been an exhilarating experience, it really has. –Chicago Sun Times
  • My dad cooked a lot, so I knew how to use knives. I collected knives as a kid. I just thought they were interesting; kind of cool. –Chicago Tribune

Quiz: Alot vs. A Lot

Instructions: Fill in the blank with either alot or a lot.

  1. You’re moving too slow. You need to pick up _______ of speed. (incorrect spelling)
  2. Where did all my socks go? I used to have ________. (incorrect spelling)
  3. You know, if you like running ______________, you should join the cross country team at our school. (correct spelling)
  4. Be careful if you’re going to eat my sister’s cooking. She always adds _____________ of salt. (correct spelling)
  5. I’m not a professional golfer, but I do play the sport ____________. (correct spelling)

See answers below.

Article Summary

Should I use a lot or alot? Only one of these is the correct spelling.

  • A lot is the correct form and it means many or much.
  • Alot is an incorrect spelling of a lot, so make sure to never make this error.

Use the information in this article to ensure you accidentally write a lot instead of alot.


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