Let’s say you’re typing a paper and you get to a point where you write “alot.” A little red squiggle appears underneath so that you know it’s spelled incorrectly, but what will you choose–a lot or allot? This Grammar Quick Fix will teach you the difference between these three “words.”
Believe it or not, alot is not a word. It’s commonly confused as a word because it’s similar to allot or a lot. The word you will want to choose depends on what you’re discussing.
This is what most people mean when they type alot. A lot is basically an informal way of identifying a “large quantity” of something. If I say, “I have a lot of books,” you’ll know that I don’t have just a couple books–I have several. This is the “slang form” of the word though. A more appropriate usage is when you’re trying to measure an uncountable noun, like water or poetry. “There was a lot of water in the pool.” The former form is permissible in basic conversation, but should be avoided
This is a completely different word altogether. Allot means to “distribute” and is a verb. For example: “I alloted the raffle tickets to the students.” This word doesn’t have a “slang form,” unlike a lot.
Alot isn’t a word. A lot functions as an adjective, and allot is a verb. If you’re not sure what you should use, ask yourself if you’re looking to put a verb or an adjective in your sentence. Good luck!