Prepare for Trouble: Differentiating All Ready and Already

Posted on Nov 21, 2018

It's all too easy to misuse words that have nearly the exact same pronunciation and spelling. Among these confusing word pairs, the renegade tandem of all ready and already is one of the most notorious. Mistaking one for the other can't be taken lightly, as it changes a great deal about what you're trying to say. Sometimes, it even renders the entire sentence nonsensical. Thankfully, we’re going to do something about that.

Already vs All Ready

For starters, these two are different parts of speech: already is an adverb whereas all ready is an adjective phrase. As an adverb, already modifies verbs to mean that the action was done “before now, before a specified time, or so soon.” Keep in mind that it can also modify adjectives, other adverbs, or even an entire sentence. A sample sentence would be: I already ate my lunch before writing this article.


In all ready, “all” emphasizes “ready” to mean that “something, someone, or an entire group is completely prepared.” For example, one could say that all the food a customer ordered for delivery is all ready for pick-up. For singular subjects, an example would be: The gardener was all ready to water the flowers in the lawn.


Other than already and all ready being an adverb and adjective phrase, respectively, they also vary with regard to the time the action is executed. Already modifies actions to mean that it is done, while all ready describes actions that are being prepared or about to happen. They're essentially before and after, with all ready being the former and already being the latter.

To further illustrate this, review the following examples:

  1. Keinan had already taken a heavy breakfast when Nick asked him to grab a quick bite.

  2. Having pined for the man she loved for years, Milla was all ready to come forward with her romantic feelings for Jade.

  1. Thankfully, Quoia was already home before the neighborhood renegades wreaked havoc on the streets.

  2. The plumber always made sure her tools were all ready for the next clogged sink.

  1. It was already time for Graves to be on his way to his grandmother's.

  2. Melli and her entourage of BFFs were all ready to go out and dance the night away.

To better distinguish between the two, always check which word modifies which. Already is one word that acts solely as a modifier for whatever verb, adjective, adverb, or sentence it is placed next to. On the other hand, all ready consists of two words that modify each other, creating an adjective phrase that in turn can be used to describe someone, something, or a group.

Already done reading? Perfect! You should be all ready to use these two words in the right situations now. Just remember that one denotes things that have happened, and the other focuses on those that have yet to happen. It shouldn't be too much trouble from there.

If you've got other questions on grammar and writing, send us a line and we'll reply as best and soonest we can. Until next time!


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