Why do I write 'alot' instead of 'a lot'

I write alot? instead ofa lot? because in English we have many
words which are used together so often that they naturally become
one word.
There are many examples of this and this usually happens with most of the small words called - Prepositions.

… on to = onto
… in to = into
… a lot = alot

other examples are -

… some more = somemore
… ever more = evermore

Phrasal Verbs also have this character.
A phrasal verb is the bringing together of a Verb and a Prepostion.
But note that phrasal verbs should be joined together with a hyphen.
A hy-phen… because they produce an Adjectival expression.
But even this rule is slowly fading out.

Examples -

… back up = backup
(this should be written back-up - a phrasal verb)

… take off = take-off … becomes … takeoff
… touch down = touch-down … becomes … touchdown
… drive in = drive-in … becomes … drivein
… take away = take-away … becomes … takeaway

You get the idea???

Hi Bruce, your idea of linking words is probably progressive, yet so far a lot and a lot of are still written as separate words. That’s the standard and as you know most people need structure. When it comes to language this structure can be found in a dictionary or a grammar text book and there you will find that a lot consists of the indefinite article a and the noun lot. The same holds true for the combination a few.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Old style transport[YSaerTTEW443543]

Bruce, backup, takeoff, touchdown, drive-in and takeaway are nouns made up of a verb and a prepositions. As far as I know phrasal verbs are made up of separate words without hyphen[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: A laboratory[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten,
Yes, you are quite right - there are two words here.

An Article “a” and a Noun “lot”, and they should be
written separately as taught in our English Grammar books.

You are also correct in saying it is a progressive form.
It is actually becoming a trend to write certain words together.
So long as it doesn?t confuse, I think it is valid.

As I explained, some words are written together because they
tend to be together alot, and there is really not a lot to misunderstand
by squashing these two words together.
It is just quicker and easier to work with.
This habit is used by writers of various professions when it is appropriate. Sometimes it is not appropriate and will cause misunderstanding.

Clarity is important and the ground rules of Grammar more so.

Structure is also important and I don?t want to confuse anybody here.
Just be aware that this practice is becoming a trend.

Americans are particularily masters of abbreviation and as American
English (AE) is just as dominant in the Business world as British English (BE) it is important to know the difference.

I will try and keep my writing British and welcome any questions from
our readers. I?m not sure where or when this trend began.
Maybe Alan or Sue can enlighten us more.

Now I will answer your reply to “Phrasal Verbs”.
See the next posting.
Best Wishes, Bruce.

Hi Bruce,

I agree with you - English is a very dynamic language and especially the Amercians have a tendency to shorten words in order to make communication even simpler. There are lots of examples for this trend as you say.
For example the word email can be spelled in many different ways:


TOEIC listening, photographs: A German Shepard[YSaerTTEW443543]


Once again you are correct about Phrasal Verbs being written
as separate words. This now provokes me to explain my comments
about Adjectival expression.

As with the “alot” and “a lot” situation, clarity in reading and understanding
the English Language is most important.

The function of a hyphen is to create exactly that - clarity.
What I mean with an Adjectival expression is that the so-called
Phrasal Verb, now becomes an Adjective in it?s entirety.

In my example of … take-off, touch-down, drive-in, take-away …
these phrasal verbs have now become Adjectives with the use
of the Hyphen. You will now see what I mean when I write :

  1. take-off platform
  2. touch-down area
  3. drive-in movie
  4. take-away dinner
  5. back-up CD

In each of these examples the phrasal verb - now hyphenated - has become an Adjective describing a Noun.

What kind of platform … a take-off platform.
What kind of area … a touch-down area.
What kind of movie … a drive-in movie.
What kind of dinner … a take-away dinner.
What kind of CD … a back-up CD

These “Hyphenated Phrasal Verbs” are actually called Compound Adjectives.

Actually in my posting I was incorrect.
What I should have written was -

Phrasal Verbs also have this character.
A Phrasal Verb is the bringing together of a Verb and a Preposition.
But note that Phrasal Verbs should be joined together with a hyphen
WHEN they produce an Adjectival expression.
But even this rule is fading out.

That is just a warning to me to check my writing thoroughly before
I post it on the Forum. One false word can confuse and we are here
to clarify English, not make it ambiguous.

As for the habit of dropping a Hyphen in favour of joining the two
descriptive words together - this is once again a progressive form
of English. This I believe has developed out of either convenience
or laziness. I personally don?t think it is always appropriate.
It will also alter the English Language once again and begin producing
new words where they are not welcome. Here we must orientate on
the criterian we are given. Namely the correct Grammatic Structure
of Oxford, Cambridge or Standard written English.
Once again, I say CLARITY is of the utmost importance.

The fact that a fast-food restaurant owner advertises …
Takeaway Food … instead of … Take-away Food,
is pretty much his business.
If the word Takeaway? confuses, it will soon be noticed through the lack of customers. Then he can change the word totake-away?.

The same goes for the other words I haved cited.
The Hyphen is there to create clarity.

I would be interested to read what Alan has got to say about this subject.
Also, with respect to such combinations as :

some where = somewhere
some more = somemore
some thing = something

… etc.

Now I would like to explain the use of a HYPHEN correctly, which I will
do as a separate subject - otherwise it will be too exhausting here.

I hope that now clarifies what I originally meant to say.

Best Wishes, Bruce

Hi Bruce! Where did you study English. French and German?
Many thanks in advance
Pupil :roll:

Hi Bruce,

When it comes to discussing phrasal verbs, compound nouns, adjectival expressions and other complex issues it will be best if we create additional materials covering the basics. After all, the vast majority of our users speak English as a second language.
You see, when we talk about phrasal verbs we have in mind such phrases like I’m afraid we have run out of paper. Or How are you getting along with your new boss? In these cases no hyphen is involved. As you know Alan has written a number of funny short stories featuring phrasal verbs too. Here is an example:

You see, the forum is there to bounce ideas back and forth - to generate a discussion. We can then select, structure and re-organize the information and create articles, handouts, guides etc. and make them available for download. Bottom line: Keep on speaking your mind![YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Building high[YSaerTTEW443543]

This Forum is going to create some interesting material which you won?t find
in any typical English Grammar Book.
The colloquial usage will slowly but surely change the basic
grammar the same way SMS messages are creating new combinations like …cu2morrow …
or … I?ll be l8 2nite. (l8 = L eight = l ate = late)
Not quite as drastic, but pronounciation influences the written
language slowly over a long period of time.
These exchanges are going to be controversial.
We will probably be able to classify some of it quite well.
The English Language will continue to need re-explaining
and re-defining with the passage of time.
I just hope it doesn?t get as bad as Newspeak as portayed
in the famous book by George Orwell - “1984”. Then we will
all become robots, not able to express any emotions.
When it gets that far I?ll already be practicing telepathy.

Hi Bruce, you are right, new forms of communication enable people to exchange ideas faster and in a simpler way. This brings about many changes, even physical ones: I read in a recent article that thumb’s functionality increases greatly through the regular use of handhelds such as gameboys and mobile phones. Yes, the forum gives us a unique opportunity to tap into people’s minds and create very valuable English language resources.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Playing a game[YSaerTTEW443543]