I’ve been trained that A LOT is two words. On NPR some time ago, I heard that ALOT (one word) was added to to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Does this mean that it’s now sanctioned to use ALOT?
Or does the OED not have this kind of authority?
Joel – Seattle
So I just checked my copy of the OED (CD-ROM) and “alot” is not in there. However, “allot” does have an alternate spelling of “alot,” but it’s primarily obsolete. When using “a lot” as in “many,” it’s still two words. It is possible that it was brought up for a potential addition, but has not made it yet.
Several words will be brought up to be added to the OED, but most get rejected. So it’s possible that NPR meant that they were considering it. There hasn’t been an addendum to the OED in quite some time–it’s hard to keep up with the ever changing language at this point, so what happens is by the time they work something out, something else happens that they need to consider. But I would generally say yes, the OED has the authority to “make” words, but it’s a task they don’t take lightly and it takes a lot of time for something to enter the OED.
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