Is It All Right to Use “Alright”? Common Grammar Questions and One Very Big Editing Hiccup Courtesy of Your Brain
It’s inevitable that at least one pesky typo or grammar flub will make it into your published book. The laws of the universe demand it (probably).
This truth is something I struggle to accept every time I publish a new book. The fact of the matter is that your brain can be your own worst enemy during the editing process simply because of how it naturally processes information, but more on that in a moment. While everyone’s process is different, I tend to edit as I write, and typos and misspellings notwithstanding, it’s those grammar questions that can really put the brakes on my word count for the day as it takes me out of the zone. It can be a real pain to have to stop and look something up because I can’t remember if I should use “affect” or “effect” or if a certain number should be written in word form or is large enough to be written out as numerals.
To combat the disruption, I keep a printout/checklist of all the words/grammar questions that still give me pause every once in a while that explains their proper usage that I can consult easily and quickly. I then go down this checklist using Microsoft Word’s “Find” function after I’ve completed the book as a final editing pass before I send off the first draft to my editor. I will list some of the items on my checklist here. I also recently polled some of my readers about grammar mistakes they commonly come across, and will list the top few responses as well.
- So, is it all right to use “Alright”?
For the moment, all the standard grammar guides say “no,” but as language is always in flux and this particular usage has been popping up more and more in professional publications, this could change in the near future.
- A while or Awhile
“A while” is a noun phrase or the object of a preposition signifying “a short period of time.”
“My appointment may take a while.” or “Come stay for a while.”
“Awhile” is an adverb meaning “for a while.”
“Come stay awhile.”
You can test it by subbing in “for a while” or another adverb such as “quietly.”