Posted by: Jack Henry | September 24, 2019

Editor’s Corner: Common Homonyms

Hello out there! I hope those of you who attended the Symitar Educational Conference enjoyed yourselves and learned a lot. Coming soon, the Jack Henry Annual Conference (JAC), also in San Diego this year!

Speaking of learning a lot, I just received this great newsletter from It discusses some frequently confused and confusing homonyms, what they are, what each word means, and it provides a few details that will keep your writing looking good and keep you sounding sharp.

Allot vs. ALot

The word allot means "to parcel out."

Example: The company will allot each of us a cell phone.

The expression a lot means "many" or "much."

We had a lot of fun.
A lot of people showed up for the concert.

Note that even though you may see alot written by a lot of people, there is no such word.

Allowed vs. Aloud

Allowed means "gave permission to."

Example: You will be allowed to enter the theater in five minutes.

Aloud means "said out loud; spoken."

Example: She read her work aloud at the poetry slam.

All ready vs. Already

These two words may sound alike when you say them, but they have distinct meanings. All ready means "everything or everyone is now ready."

Example: We are all ready to go.

Already means "previously" or "earlier than expected."

Is summer over already? (earlier than expected)
I did the dishes already. (previously)

All right vs. Alright

The word alright is a casual form of the phrase all right; however, alright is not considered a correct spelling in formal writing.

Altar vs. Alter

An altar is a pedestal, usually of a religious kind.

Example: They exchanged wedding vows at the altar of the church.

Alter means "to change."

Example: Please don’t alter your plans.

All together vs. Altogether

All together, two words, means "in a group."

We are all together in the photo.
It is wonderful to be all together to celebrate your birthday.

Altogether is an adverb meaning "entirely, completely, everything included."

It is not altogether his fault. (entirely)
We had an altogether wonderful day. (completely)
Altogether, the groceries cost thirty dollars. (everything included)

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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