gram·ma·ry /ˈɡramərē/

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LATEST POST

A Puzzling Lot: Distinguishing “A Lot” from “Allot”

Words can be confusing a lot of times. Or wait, is it “a lot” or “alot”? And wasn’t there another word, “allot”? Before it gets any more chaotic, let’s sort their definitions out.


A lot from Allot

For starters, “alot” is just a common misspelling of the phrase “a lot.” With that out of the way, we focus now on settling the differences between “a lot” and “allot.”


A lot

“A lot” is an informal phrase typically used as an adverb or a pronoun. It comes from the word “lot,” as in “an unpleasant lot,” with meanings ranging from an ugly patch of land to a bunch of people you may not want to deal with. “Lot” in the phrase sums up these definitions and refers to “a considerable quantity or extent.” Therefore, “a lot” is “a large number or amount” of a particular thing, be they persons, items, or even abstract concepts such as love and time. We need not look further—one can say that the word “lot” has a lot of meanings. It can also be used to describe frequency, as in we tend to write about grammar a lot.


Allot

“Allot,” on the other hand, is a transitive verb. It shares the root word “lot,” which is why it is similarly involved with portions and amounts. The key difference is that “allot” refers to the act of “assigning as a share or portion” and “distributing by or as if by lot.” For example, you, the reader, are allotting time to know the differences between “a lot” and “allot.”


Here are a few more side-by-side examples for review:

  1. A lot of people find comfort by eating McDonald’s french fries.

  2. The governor of District 7 is allotting a budget of six thousand per month for coal and fuel.


  1. Even before high school, Norra liked Landon a lot.

  2. In most schools, there is an allotted time for recess and lunch.


  1. There were a lot of rats running loose inside the cafeteria.

  2. Maria left her officers to allot the remaining plots of land to the farmers who wanted them.


Another easy way to distinguish them is that there are more words in “a lot” than in “allot”, which has only a single portion.


That’s a lot of lots. This has been sufficiently bamboozling, but we hope this article helped out a lot. Just to be sure, you might want to allot a little more time to practice using these words. But if you have some more questions about grammar, language, and writing, just send us a message, and we’ll get to it as soon as we can. Until then, feel free to look through the other entries on the blog.



Sources:



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