Difference between all together and altogether
All together vs altogether:
As two words which possess identical pronunciation, all together and altogether are often confused with each other on many occasions. These two words have very different usages when employed in a text and therefore, it is considered inappropriate to use them synonymously as it would alter the meaning of the sentence completely if used out of turn. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to know the individual definitions and the meaning of these two words prior to using them in any context.
About ‘all together’
‘All together’ is an adverb and an adjective which stands to indicate a group activity or an act or a number of things that are referred to collectively. It means everyone or everything together. ‘All together’ can be used in sentences as in the examples indicated below.
This song can be sung by us all together.
Put the books and the pens all together on the table.
The last time we were all together was back in high school.
An easy way of identifying whether ‘all together’ is the right term to use in a sentence is to see whether the words ‘all’ and ‘together’ can be separated and still be written in such a way that it does not affect the meaning.
This song can be sung by all of us together.
Put all the books and the pens together on the table.
The last time we all were together was back in high school.
The term ‘altogether’ can be used either as an adverb or an adverbial conjunction which stands to indicate in total, overall, wholly, entirely, completely and all in all. As an adverbial conjunction, ‘altogether’ can be used as a connector which connects different ideas that indicate things such as ‘in general’, ‘on the whole’, and ‘for the most part. ‘Altogether’ can be used in many ways such as the examples stated below.
It was expensive, but it was an enjoyable experience altogether.
She left him altogether, convinced that he will never change.
Altogether, it was a hard task, but it was well worth the effort.
What is the difference between “altogether” and “all together”?
The first and foremost difference between these two words may be their meanings. ‘All together’ refers to a collective whereas ‘altogether’ indicates wholly, completely, overall and etc. While ‘all together’ and ‘altogether’ are both known as adverbs, ‘all together’ is often also used as an adjective, whereas ‘altogether’ is often used as an adverbial conjunction.
A clear way of identifying whether ‘all together’ or ‘altogether’ should be used in a sentence is to see if the sentence can be written without using the word ‘all’. If it can be done so without altering the sense of the sentence, it is an indication that it is ‘all together’ that should be employed there. Observe the following example.
We stood up for the national anthem all together.
We all stood up for the national anthem together.
In the first sentence, the word ‘all together’ is used in order to indicate a collective effort which is performed by a group whereas in the second sentence, the same sentence is written without the word ‘all’ while keeping the meaning of the sentence intact. Therefore, this is an instance where the word ‘all together’ should be used without a doubt.
On the other hand, sentences that require ‘altogether’ to be used, does not make sense if the ‘al’ is taken away from it. Observe the following example.
The musicians were tired after a rough night. So they cancelled the gig altogether.
The above sentence would not make much sense if the ‘al’ was taken out of it. Therefore, the above sentence is an instance when ‘altogether’ should be essentially employed. In addition to that, if the word ‘altogether’ can be replaced with ‘completely’ or ‘when all is said and done’, it is deemed better to use ‘altogether’ is that sentence.
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