What is the Difference Between A lot, Alot, and Allot?

A lot, alot, and allot all sound the same and have very similar spelling.  So what is the difference between these three homonyms?

A lot

A lot is a phrase that means a large number or amount.  A lot and lots have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably in most instances.

Examples of a lot

  • She picked a lot of apples
  • She picked lots of apples

Alot

Alot is not a word in the English language but it is a fairly common spelling mistake used by some in place of writing a lot.  All style standards considered alot to be a typographic mistake and its use is not considered acceptable in formal writing.

In fact, one of the only correct ways to use Alot would be to refer a small town in  Madhya Pradesh, India.

Map showing the location of Alot, India. Map from USGS

Map showing the location of Alot, India. Map created using USGS

Allot

Allot is a verb that means to assign a portion of or to set aside for a specific purpose.

Examples of allot:

  • The teacher will allot three pencils per students for the math test
  • The city council allotted funds to build a new park