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The difference between a lot, alot, and allot

5 min read
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8 September, 2023
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The English language is not known for being simple, and so understanding when and how to use “a lot” or “allot” can be tricky if you’re still learning to master the language. But don’t worry – with some hard work, consistent practice, and a great, comprehensive guide (such as this one), you can achieve anything!  

Let’s go through what “allot” and “a lot” mean and how you should use them. 

 

Which spelling is right: "a lot" or "alot"?  

The accurate spelling is "a lot," with the two words separated. The merged version, "alot," is a frequently used – but incorrect – spelling and should always be avoided. From a technical perspective, the expression "a lot" consists of the noun "lot" preceded by the indefinite article "a". However, when joined together, the phrase "a lot" can function as an adverb or pronoun.  

Despite these new qualities, we do not merge the article and noun together. “Alot” is often misspelled in informal communications, such as in text messages. Do not be alarmed or worried if you do misuse it though, because most people will always understand what you mean.  

 

What does “a lot” mean? 

The term "a lot" signifies a substantial amount of something. If you had an extensive coin collection, you might say that you have “a lot of rare coins”, as this clearly indicates that you have more than one or two, and that you’re an avid collector! 

Additionally, "a lot" also possesses a plural form that entirely omits the indefinite article: "lots." This quantifier is typically found in informal conversations or written communication. For example, in sentences such as “Lots of people love chocolate.” 

 

Synonyms of “a lot” 

Some common words that have the same meaning (a synonym) as “a lot” include: 

  • many 
  • numerous 
  • ample 
  • much 
  • plenty 
  • a good or great deal 
  • a large amount or number 
  • a heap 
  • an abundance 
  • a bunch 

 

Examples of “a lot” in a sentence 

Some of our favorite examples of “a lot” in a sentence include: 

  • “I have a lot of work to do before my final exams” 
  • “My husband has a lot of shoes, whereas I only have a few” 
  • “There is a lot I don’t know when it comes to rocket science” 

     

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What does “allot” mean? 

Allot essentially means to give something that is a share or portion of something else. When budgeting your paycheque for example, you might “allot” portions of your income for rent, food, or fun days out. 

As a verb, “allot” can be used to assign part of a task to an individual or to multiple people; for example: “Dave allotted all the number-related tasks to Jaz, and all the written tasks to Steve.” 

 

Synonyms of “allot” 

Some of the most popular synonyms of allot include: 

  • appoint 
  • apportion 
  • assign 
  • distribute 
  • allocate 
  • designate 
  • set aside 

 

Examples “allot” in a sentence 

These sentences are: 

  • “Each student was allotted 45 minutes to complete the test” 
  • “You must allot funds to your savings account if you want to go on holiday”  
  • “The Kaplan marketing department allotted half of its marketing budget to TikTok videos” 

 

Whilst it doesn’t matter too much if you misspell something in a group chat with friends, when it comes to formal writing – whether it be for a job interview or at work – it’s important to always use the correct spellings.  

Don’t want to miss out on securing your dream job over a small spelling mistake? Sign up to a Kaplan English course and watch your skills improve dramatically! We have courses to suit everyone, no matter what your goal is. 

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