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Aug 1 2012   1:48PM GMT

Are you in the “all together” or the “altogether”?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Tapes go bad and data can become corrupt or get erased ___________.
a. altogether
b. all together

Answer: a

Explanation:
All together means collectively, simultaneously — we sing “Happy Birthday” all together when we sing it in unison.

Altogether means entirely, completely. The data is gone, Baby, gone.

If you’re nude, you’re in the altogether — you’re completely naked.

@GrammarGirl Mignon Fogarty explains these and related words in a post on all right vs. alright.

Follow us on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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