All together and altogether are two very similar expressions in the English language. How do you know when to use each one?
Although they are pronounced in the same way and there is only a small difference in their spellings, all together and altogether are not the same.
The two expressions represent different parts of speech and are used in completely different ways! Knowing when to use each one is important and is a skill that will impress even native English speakers.
Let's look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
All together is an adjective that means that everyone or everything is in the same place. The opposite of all together is separately, or in different places.
Common expressions with all together are to get everything all together, which means to put a collection of objects in one place, and to get everyone all together, which means to bring a group of people together.
Altogether is an adverb, which means is it a word that modifies a verb, adjective or other adverb.
The word has three different meanings:
First, altogether can be used to mean completely or totally. When used in this way, the opposite of altogether is partially.
Second, altogether means in total. When used in this way, it communicates the sum of several different parts.
Finally, altogether means in general or overall. When used in this way, altogether is a way to wrap up or conclude what a person is speaking about. Let's look at some examples.
To remember the difference between all together and altogether, try to keep in mind that "all" is very close in meaning to "everything." The meaning of all together is very literal. All together means that everything is really together in one place!
All together, there are four children in Henry's family. Henry has one younger sister, Emily, and one older sister, Sarah. He also has one younger brother, Mark. Henry, Emily, Sarah and Mark travel to school all together every day.
They like taking the bus all together, because the trip is altogether quite fun and enjoyable. The siblings like to laugh with their friends and usually sit all together in the back row. On the way home, they study all together too, and ask each other questions about their homework.
Henry also has a dog, Frankie. Frankie wants to take the bus all together with the children but Henry's mom says the bus driver would not be altogether happy about that idea. So Frankie usually stays home, and sometimes he goes to the park and plays all together with the other dogs in the neighborhood.
When Henry gets home, he and his family play all together with Frankie until it is time for bed. At the end of the day, they usually feel altogether pleased about the experiences they've had together. The next day, it's time to do it all over again!
Answer the following 10 questions and then check your answers. Each question is worth 10 points.
Part 1: 1. A | 2. C | 3. B | 4. DPart 2: 1. B | 2. A| 3. A | 4. C | 5. D | 6. C
Return from All Together vs. Altogether to Confusing Words
Return to Really Learn English Home Page