Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Al Right

I've been reading a lot of free Kindle books, and it turns out many of them are self-published.

Being a bit OCD, especially during the holiday season, the errors drive me insane, and I've been tweeting advice to self-publishers. Examples:

Tips for #selfpublish: Hallows=holy relics. You don't have dark hallows under your eyes unless you were slapped by a dead saint. #badgrammar

Tips for #selfpublish: If you're following the rules, you TOE THE LINE. Tugboats tow the line. #badgrammar

One of my pet peeves is the use of the non-word, alright. ALRIGHT IS NOT A WORD! Another is the non-word alot. ALOT IS NOT A WORD!

My dear friend Rosie Lane gave me a terrific link to a blog post by the brilliant Allie Brosch about the alot, an imaginary creature that looks like a cross between a bear, a yak, and a pug. Then when I wondered what an alright looked like, she gave me a link to a youtube video song, Alright, by Jamiroquai.

So from now on, whenever I see alright used in a sentence, I will think of my friend Al Right with the funny hat and mustache. "I was feeling alright" gives me the picture of the writer stroking Al Right's mustache.

Stupid... maybe. But it helps me deal.

You gotta take your fun where you find it, right? Al Right!


  1. I wonder if you can tow with your toe? Inquiring minds need to know. My personal bugbear is reigning something in. Rein! It's rein! It started life as a horseriding term.

  2. A good many of my British crit partners use 'alright' and I found out why from Grammar Girl.

    Grammar Girl: (http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/all-right-versus-alright.aspx):

    But the esteemed Brian Garner (6) notes that “alright” as one word “may be gaining a shadowy acceptance in British English.”

    It's also perfectly acceptable to use 'alright' in dialog.

    I was taught to use 'all right' by nuns with hard oak rulers. The lesson stuck.

  3. @Rosie: Yes! That one drives me crazy, too. Of course it's not a very long trip... :)

    @Maria: I really hate that if you do something wrong enough times it becomes right.

  4. Oh, and btw, Rosie Lane is English, and I've never seen her use alright...

  5. ah, self publishing...it's not for sissies...don't forget, if you are writing a period piece, and the period is pre motor vehicles, there would be no MOTELS...

  6. LOL, thanks for that, Trish. That's one I might not notice... No, I notice everything and it all DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!

  7. Alright, alot, rein/reign - those are all pet peeves of mine. Another is pique/peek/peak. If you're going to self-pub then you have to learn to spell.

    I'm writing a period piece at the moment and I can't tell you how many words I've checked for the year they were first used. As my story is set in 1815 there are an awful lot of words I can't use, some are obvious, but some surprised me. There were even some words that I was sure I couldn't use only to find that I could.

  8. Heh, Jan knocked alright out of me in short order when she beta read a story for me. I try to only go into the naughty corner once for any given offence.

  9. I knew Al Right. Nice guy. A little smelly, he needed Right Guard, but otherwise, nice chap.

  10. Jan beat 'alright' out of me too! But there is a growing trend of accepting incorrect words as correct. Just look at all the slang that is now in the dictionaries. I've seen 'alright' used in a lot of professional (or so-called professional) work. Like when news broadcasts or TV shows are scrolling the dialog across the bottom of the screen...I see them use 'alright' all the time.

    And Jan...since most of us weren't around in 1815, I wouldn't know what the hell they said back then. You could make shit up and I wouldn't know the difference. I might catch something like having them stop at the Ye Old McDonalds or something, but otherwise, I'm pretty clueless!

  11. @Jan: Yes, you definitely know what you're doing when it comes to the English language, even tho you've got that Brit spelling thing going on, lol!

    @Rosie: You too... rarely have I found any kind of mistake in anything you've written, other than that English tendency to use "which" instead of "that," taboo here nowadays.

    @Anonymous: No "eh" so I can't tell who it is... but *snort* Right Guard. :)

    @SueD: LOL, you're right about not knowing what words they used in 1815. I'm clueless, too. And I still hate that if people do something wrong enough times it can become right. :(

    Oh, and I found another pet peeve this afternoon in the story I'm reading... led/lead. Amazing how often that one's misused.

  12. Dee, I have an American Beta and an American husband, so I'm fairly fluent in American ;).

    At the moment, I'm editing a book written in Canadian English - now that's a strange mix and I've had to learn a whole new set of grammar rules.

  13. @Jan: Most of the Canadian I've read is close to U.S. English, except for the whole colour/honour thing. But the best part of it is, with all our different forms of language, we all manage to get along. :D