All right versus alright

I’m straddling the fence again.

Alright—with gonna, wanna, and a handful of other joined words—is a shortcut darling of closed captions, so it’s all I see these days on the TV screen.

The scholars at Oxford Dictionary assert: “Similar ‘merged’ words such as altogether and already have been accepted in standard English for a very long time, so there is no logical reason to object to the one-word form alright. Nevertheless, many people regard it as nonstandard. . . .”

Me, too—my personal choice is all right, because alright just looks alwrong. Other reasoning on the side of the two-word version is all right is accepted and understood by all readers, whereas alright is not.

Most good English instructors agree and grade its spelling accordingly.

However, a good editor has a different task. The writer is the boss, and since the debated spelling is more a matter of style than correct or incorrect, the boss rules.

My only job after the decision is to nag about consistency. For instance, there’s no such thing as all right for narrative and alright for dialog. There are no differences in pronunciation. Except for one tiny case where all right means “all correct,”  there are no nuances of meaning.