Alot or a lot?

The English phrase “a lot” indicates a large quantity or the degree and extent of something. Alot is a misspelling of “a lot” and not a real English term. The expression “a lot” is also confused with the verb allot, which is the action which is the act of distributing or portioning.

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What is the difference between alot or a lot?

One of the most common mistakes in the English language involves the confusion between “alot” and “a lot.” To make matters more tricky, there’s also the verb “allot,” which is a different word that has a separate meaning as well. 

But grammar enthusiasts can rest assured that the confusion between alot and a lot is easily resolved. “Alot” is not a real word when it comes to describing quantity–– it’s simply a misspelling of the phrase “a lot.” 

The simple breakdown between alot, allot, and a lot

We write the phrase “a lot” to describe large quantities or the relative extent of something. The word “allot” is spelled similarly, but it’s a verb that we use to describe the act of distributing a shared portion of something. 

As mentioned above, alot is a common misspelling of a lot, but it’s also a town and notified council area in the country of India. So with this in mind, there are certain instances when you would write the word Alot, but it doesn’t involve the use of nouns or adverbs like “a lot.”

What does a lot mean?

We write the phrase “a lot” to describe the relative extent of something, the large frequency of something occuring, or the excess degree of something in quantity. However, we can also write the word “lot” with the indefinite article “a” to refer to a plot of land. 

Overall, we can break-down the definition of “a lot” into five definitions that are dependent on context:

A lot = very much

The degree of emotion or a description of something:

“The students love their English teacher a lot.”

Synonyms:

Awfully, badly, enormously, extremely, fiercely, greatly, highly, immensely, terribly, very.

Antonyms:

Barely, hardly, little, marginally, minimally, negligibly, slightly, somewhat.

A lot = much more

The relative extent or degree of something in a way that’s similar to “very much” but more-so:

“I feel a lot better using a grammar checker.”
“The stocks have grown by a lot since then.” 

Synonyms:

By half, considerably, enormously, greatly, largely, much, no end, noticeably, significantly, vastly.

Antonyms:

Little, nominally, slightly. 

A lot = many times

A large frequency or occurrence of something similar to “very often” or “many times”:

“She uses a cheat sheet a lot.”
“The students have spent a lot of time together.”

Synonyms:

Always, continuously, habitually, night and day, perpetually, regularly, time after time, time and again.

Antonyms:

Infrequently, little, never, occasionally, once, rarely, seldom, sometimes.

A lot = many things

A large number of people, places, or objects: 

“There are a lot of confusing words in the Latin encyclopedia.” 
“This essay contains a lot of typos.”
“The university holds a lot of students.”

Synonyms:

Innumerable, manifold, many, multiple, numerous, several. 

Antonyms:

A couple, few, limited, some.

A lot = area of land

A piece of property, a location, parking lot, or place of business:

“The English teacher owns a lot in Pennsylvania.” 
“If you need to park your car, there’s a lot down the street.”

Synonyms:

Allotment, business, development, estate, land, location, parking lot, plot, property. 

What does alot mean?

The word “alot” is not apart of the English Language and rather a misspelling of the expression a lot. However, “Alot” is a Nagar Panchayat (e.i., township) located in the Ratlam or Ratnapuri district of Madhya Pradesh, India. 

How to use a lot in a sentence?

The phrase “a lot” is defined by the word lot or ‘lots, which we can write as a pronoun, noun, or adverb.  The letter “a” of “a lot” is an indefinite article that refers to the adverb or pronoun “lot” as a quantity or “a great deal.” When it comes to “lot” as a noun, the indefinite article is referencing a group of people, items, an area of land, and more. 

A lot as a pronoun or adverb

While writing the pronoun and adverb versions of “lot,” the phrase “a lot” is interchangeable with lots (apostrophes not necessary), which is an informal word to describe a mass quantity or a large amount of something. The difference between a lot as a pronoun and adverb is that the pronoun form can stand alone while referencing something else. 

Example sentences:

“We have a lot of work.”
“There’s a lot of people.” 
“I made a lot of bookmarks.”
“She has a lot of money.”

Pronoun synonyms of a lot

For the pronoun version of “lot,” the phrases a lot or lots is synonymous with: 

  • An abundance
  • A good/great deal
  • A good/great extent
  • A large/fair amount
  • A great quantity/large number
  • A wealth or profusion
  • Plenty
  • Masses

In contrast, the adverb form of “lot” must modify another adverb, verb, adjective, or word that’s related to time, place, context, etc. The adverb form within the phrase “a lot” still describes a vast amount or “much” of something, but it’s grammatically constructed differently in the sentence. 

Example sentences:

“Thanks a lot.”
“We talked a lot last night.”
“We ate a lot and gave thanks.”
“Grammarly corrects me a lot.”

Adverb synonyms of a lot

When it comes to the adverb form of “lot” within a lot, the phrase is synonymous with words or phrases such as: 

  • A great/good deal
  • To a great/large extent
  • Much

A lot as a noun

For the noun lot, we use the indefinite article “a” to informally reference a group of people or objects or an area of land. This isn’t to say that the noun “lot” doesn’t carry other definitions, though. 

If we write the noun “lot” with a definite article (i.e., “the”), the article might also reference a group of items that are for sale, a decision or choice, a person’s luck, or a plot of land (similar to “a lot”). But since we’re specifically defining the phrase “a lot,” we can dismiss the definition of “the lot” for now. 

Quick tip!

It’s important to note that, like other nouns that describe quantity (e.g., “people”), the noun form of “lot” is not a head noun. What this means is that, although it’s written as a singular term, it’s technically plural. Furthermore, the noun form doesn’t affect whether the following verb is plural either. An example of a word that acts as a singular head noun is “everyone,” since it allows the following verb to be plural instead of singular. 

Example sentences:

When it comes to writing “a lot” as a noun for a group of people or objects, we can use the phrase in the following ways: 

“We are waiting for a lot to come our way.”
“There’s a lot located near the school.” 
“I have a lot for sale downstairs.” 

If you’re looking to write “a lot” to describe an area of land, here a few examples to follow:

“I own a lot up north that you can rent.” 
“Let’s meet at a lot outside of the city.” 
“We’re staying at a lot near the school.” 

Noun synonyms of a lot

If you’re writing “a lot” to describe a large number of people or objects, the phrase is synonymous with terms like:

  • Band
  • Bunch
  • Clique
  • Crew
  • Clique
  • Crowd
  • Gang
  • Mob

While describing an area of land, the phrase “a lot” is synonymous with:

  • Allotment
  • Acreage
  • Area
  • Building lot
  • Parking lot
  • Patch/piece of ground
  • Plot
  • Property

Usage notes for a lot vs. allotment vs. allot

It’s important to note how the word allotment is synonymous with a lot when it comes to land or property because the word allot is a common misspelling of a lot. In this case, the words allot and allotment is connected through the act of dispersal or parsing. 

An allotment is a section of land (or an amount of something else) owned, rented, or shared with someone, especially to grow plants. For example,

“The farmers may keep an additional allotment of land to grow provisions for government employees.”
“The English department faculty are given an allotment of $40,000 per year to buy literary supplies.”

The verb allot is the act of dispersing or sharing a quantity of something with a person or group of people. For example,

“Sometimes, parents allot household chores to their children.”
“The city government allots $100 per household to pay for emergency provisions.”

How to remember the difference between alot or a lot?

When it comes to recognizing the difference between alot or “a lot,” grammar students must learn that “alot” is not an English word. The correct form is “a lot.” 

Spelling the phrase “a lot” as “alot” is similar to misspelling the following expressions: 

  • “A little” as “alittle.” 
  • “A bit” as “abit.” 
  • “A market” as “amarket.” 

Sometimes it helps to use a grammar checker, such as Grammarly, or a software’s spellcheck to catch misspellings. 

Test Yourself!

A lot, alot, and allot are commonly confused words. Test how much you’ve learned about their differences with the following multiple-choice questions. 

  1. The word __________ that describes the act of distributing a shared portion of something. 
    1. Alot
    2. Allot
    3. A lot
    4. Allotment
  2. __________ describes large quantities or the relative extent of something.
    1. A lot
    2. Allot
    3. Lots
    4. A and C
  3. “A lot” is _________, not  _____________.
    1. A phrase, an expression
    2. A noun, an adverb
    3. An expression, a word
    4. A verb, a noun
  4. The noun lot of the phrase “a lot” is not synonymous with: 
    1. Masses
    2. Abundance
    3. Crowd
    4. Allotment
  5. The adverb and pronoun “lot” of the expression “a lot” do not share which synonym?
    1. A great/good deal
    2. To a great/large extent
    3. Much
    4. A and B

Answers

  1. B
  2. D
  3. C
  4. D
  5. C

Sources

  1. Lot.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., 2020.
  2. A lot.” The Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster Inc., 2020.
  3. Lot.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2020.
  4. Allot.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2020.
  5. Allotment.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2020.
  6. Lot.” Cambridge Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, 2020.
  7. Alot Population Census 2011 – 2020.” Census Population 2020 Data, Census 2011, 2020.