By Judy Vorfeld
Is there such a word as “alot”? Professor Paul Brians says that this common spelling error may have begun began because there is an English a word spelled “allot” which is a verb meaning to apportion or grant.
* Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary says:
1 : to assign as a share or portion
2 : to distribute by or as if by lot
Confusing? Yes. Because, in most formal writing, we don’t often encounter “a lot.” Instead, people use terms like “frequently,” “much,” “a great deal,” “often,” etc.
If you can’t remember the rule, Professor B. suggests that you remind yourself that just as you wouldn’t write “alittle,” you shouldn’t write “alot.”
*By permission. From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary at www.m-w.com by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.