Make Your Editor Cry: All Together vs. Altogether

Make Your Editor Cry:  All Together vs. Altogether

All together means “everyone together” or “everything together.” Altogether means “completely,” “all things considered,” or “on the whole.”

The phrase all together refers to all the members of a group. It can mean “everyone or everything together,” or simply “in a group”:

Example:

We went all together to the party.
They put the tickets all together in a wallet.
It was the first time the pilots were all together since their last combat tour.
The guests gathered all together in the dining room.
For this song, get ready to sing all together now.

It’s not uncommon to see a noun or a verb between the elements of the phrase.

Examples (taken from above):

We all went together to the party.
They put all the tickets together in a wallet.
It was the first time all the pilots were together since their last combat tour.
The guests all gathered together in the dining room.
For this song, get ready to all sing together now.

Altogether is altogether different from all together (See that?). It’s not a phrase—it’s a single-word that can either be an adverb or a noun that means “completely,” “all things considered,” “on the whole,” or “all in all”. Altogether can also mean “in all” or “all told.” It can also mean “on the whole.”

Examples:

The nucleotide binding presented an altogether different problem.
After a few hours it stopped raining altogether and the sun broke through the clouds.
She spent a hundred dollars altogether.
Altogether, their efforts were successful.

As a noun, altogether informally means, well, naked, as in not wearing a stitch of clothing. The origin is murky but it’s probably a shortening of the phrase “altogether naked.”

Example:

After she posed for the adult magazine in the altogether the children's ministry terminated her employment.

The definitions, meanings, and uses of all together and altogether have no senses in common and should not be used interchangeably.

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