The Easy Explanation
“Alot” does not exist; there is no such word:
“A lot” means a large number of or to a great extent: Even just watching soccer can be a lot of fun.
When to Use A Lot vs. Alot
There aren’t many times that you get as solid a grammar answer as this one. You never use “alot”—never. It is simply a misspelling of the correct term “a lot.”
The term “a lot” can be used as a noun that means a large quantity (as in many of something). It can also be used as an adverb meaning to a great extent (as in to a great degree of something). It can also mean often (as in frequently).
Examples of A Lot vs. Alot
- The United States spends a lot of money on its armed forces. (meaning a large quantity)
- The brakes on that kind of bike stick a lot. (meaning they stick to a great degree)
- The orchestra travels to Italy a lot. (meaning often)
There aren’t any good examples of “alot” … because it’s not a word! Remember:
How to Remember the Difference
If you find your fingers hovering over the keyboard as you try to remember whether “a lot” or “alot” is the actual word, here’s a tip: Just as you can’t write “alittle” to mean “a little,” you cannot write “alot” to mean “a lot.”
Theory Into Practice: Which Is Which?
Is the underlined word correct? See if you can tell.
- The teacher spent alot of time covering algorithms.
Wrong: “Alot” is never correct—not even alittle correct. (See how wrong that “alittle” looks? “A lot” and “a little” must each be two words.)
- The eastern section of the country had a lot of snow last winter.
Right: There was a large quantity of snow, so it’s “a lot.”
- The soccer mom demographic shops at Target a lot.
Right: They shop there often, so it’s “a lot.”