Why is writing “alot” such a common mistake?

Why is it such a common mistake (particularly among school-children) to connect certain pairs of separate words? The most obvious example probably being:

e.g. “a lot”->”alot”

Is it because- in this particular case at least- there is already a valid word “allot” that exists?

Maybe also, it helps that “a” is a valid prefix to a word (e.g. “a-plenty”).


Possibly people have a natural tendency to spell “alot” in a single word because the brain processes it as a single word. At any rate, with its use for quantification, it clearly has some “special” properties. Notice the difference in verb agreement between:

A lot of the problems are due to bad planning.

A lot from the auctions is missing.

This taken with the fact that “a lot” can be used adverbially (“he got a lot further”) probably make it “feel” like a single item in terms of how the brain processes it. The perceived “obligation” to spell it as two words, like any spelling, is just an arbitrary convention.

A five-year-old child learning to write may not have even come across the word “lot” outside the phrase “a lot of”, and occasional phrases such as “a whole lot of” which split “a” and “lot” are rare compared to the basic phrase.

Source : Link , Question Author : Urbycoz , Answer Author : Community

Leave a Comment