Altogether vs All together

Team English -
Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: April 26, 2024

Altogether vs All together

The English language, where words weave through the fabric of communication, “altogether” and “all together” present a classic case of linguistic twins separated at birth. Though they share a phonetic harmony, these expressions serve distinct purposes, much like the difference between “everyday” and “every day.” This article aims to unravel the threads that distinguish “altogether” from “all together,” guiding students through the nuances that define their unique roles in language. “Altogether,” an adverb, delves into realms of totality and consideration, painting scenarios with a broad stroke of completeness. In contrast, “all together” gathers individuals or elements in unity, emphasizing collective presence or action.

The misconception that these terms are interchangeable mirrors a common pitfall in language learning, where similar sounds lead to conflated meanings. Yet, understanding the divergence between “altogether” and “all together” is pivotal for articulate expression. “Altogether” brings a sense of wholeness or summarization, often concluding observations or arguments with a sweeping perspective. Meanwhile, “all together” evokes imagery of unity, assembling subjects in a shared space or time. This exploration seeks to equip students with the clarity to navigate these linguistic crossroads, ensuring their communication is not just heard, but resonantly understood.

Altogether and All together – Meanings

Altogether: Altogether” is an adverb that has several related meanings, all revolving around the idea of completeness or totality. It can imply “entirely,” “completely,” or “in total,” offering a way to express a sum or an overall perspective. For example, when one says, “The view was altogether stunning,” they mean that the view was completely breathtaking in every aspect. “Altogether” can also suggest “on the whole” or “all things considered,” as in, “Altogether, the project was a success,” indicating that despite any minor issues, the overall outcome was positive.

All Together: “All together,” on the other hand, is a phrase that refers to a group’s collective action or presence. It implies that everyone or everything is gathered in one place or acting in unison. For instance, when someone says, “Let’s sing all together now,” they are inviting everyone to join in the singing simultaneously. Similarly, “The books were placed all together on the shelf” indicates that the books were grouped together in one location. “All together” emphasizes unity or simultaneity among the members of a group or the components of a collection.


“Altogether” functions as an adverb, signifying a state of total inclusiveness or absolute completion, often used to describe actions or situations that are entirely encompassed by a single condition, like when a business decides to completely clear out its stock. On the other hand, “all together” is a phrase used to indicate collective action or the simultaneous gathering of individuals or items, exemplified when a sports team assembles in unity for a group photograph. Each term, though phonetically similar, carves its unique niche in the lexicon, underscoring the richness of English language expression.

Difference Between Altogether and All together

The English language is peppered with phrases that sound identical but carry distinct meanings, leading to common mix-ups. “Altogether” and “all together” fall into this category, often used interchangeably despite their different implications. “Altogether” is an adverb that conveys a sense of completeness or entirety, whereas “all together” refers to a collective action or state, emphasizing the unity of a group or the simultaneity of an action. This distinction is crucial for clear communication, and understanding the nuances between these phrases can significantly enhance the precision of language use. The following table delineates the key differences between “altogether” and “all together,” providing clarity on when and how to use each term correctly.

Aspect Altogether All Together
Part of Speech Adverb Phrase
Meaning Conveys completeness, entirety, or totality. Indicates a group acting or being together.
Usage in Sentences Used to modify a verb, adjective, or other adverb. Used to indicate that subjects are physically or figuratively grouped.
Example Context Describing an action or state that is complete or total. Describing a situation where people or objects are gathered.
Synonyms Wholly, completely, entirely. Collectively, conjointly, as a group.
Typical Preceding Words Often follows the verb or adjective it modifies. Usually follows the subject or object it describes.
Function in a Sentence To intensify or clarify the extent of an action or quality. To describe the manner in which multiple subjects interact or are positioned.
Common Confusions May be confused with “all together” when spoken due to similar pronunciation. May be miswritten as “altogether” due to phonetic similarity.
Clarification Tip Remove “altogether” from the sentence to see if it still makes sense. Check if the sentence implies a collective action or grouping.
Cultural Perception Seen as a more formal or literary term. Perceived as more conversational or informal.

How To Remember the Difference Between “Altogether” and “All Together”

Remembering the difference between “altogether” and “all together” can be made simpler with a couple of mnemonic strategies:

  1. Break Down “All Together”: Think of “all together” as referring to a group (all) being in one place or doing something at the same time (together). Visualize a group of friends or objects gathered in one spot. If you can separate “all” from “together” in your sentence without losing meaning, you’re likely using the phrase correctly. For example, in “The books are all together on the shelf,” you can isolate “The books are all on the shelf” and “The books are together on the shelf,” maintaining the sentence’s integrity.
  2. Associate “Altogether” with Totality: “Altogether” indicates a complete or total state, such as in “The performance was altogether amazing.” Associate “altogether” with words like “completely” or “entirely.” If you can replace “altogether” with one of these words without altering your sentence’s meaning, you’re using it correctly.
  3. The ‘A’ in “Altogether” for ‘Absolute’: Link the “A” at the beginning of “altogether” with “absolute” to remind you that it relates to an absolute state or condition, reinforcing its meaning of completeness or entirety.
  4. Spatial Separation for “All Together”: Imagine physically placing objects or people together in a space. If your sentence describes a scenario where this visualization makes sense, “all together” is the right choice.
  5. “Altogether” as a Single Entity: Envision “altogether” as a single, indivisible word that carries its meaning of completeness or totality within it, just as it stands undivided in spelling.

Examples of Altogether and All together

Examples of “Altogether”

  1. After reviewing the plan, she decided it was altogether too risky to proceed.
  2. He found the movie altogether fascinating, unlike anything he’d seen before.
  3. Given the circumstances, quitting seemed altogether reasonable.
  4. The cost of the project was altogether higher than initially estimated.
  5. She was altogether pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

Examples of “All Together”

  1. The family gathered all together for the annual reunion photo.
  2. Let’s sing the birthday song all together now.
  3. The documents were filed all together in the top drawer.
  4. We need to work all together to finish the project on time.
  5. The students stood all together, waiting for the announcement.

When to Use Altogether and All together

Using “altogether” and “all together” correctly hinges on understanding their distinct meanings and functions within a sentence.

Usage of “Altogether”

  • You want to express a sense of completeness or totality. It’s suitable for emphasizing that something is entirely, wholly, or completely in a certain state or condition.
  • You’re discussing an overall assessment or conclusion, often in a way that sums up a situation or opinion.
  • The context involves negating something entirely or making a blanket statement about a situation.

Usage of “All Together” 

  • You’re referring to a group of people or objects being in a single location or participating in a collective action.
  • The emphasis is on unity or simultaneous action, indicating that everyone or everything is involved at the same time.
  • You could feasibly insert a comma between “all” and “together” without significantly altering the meaning, which can help test if “all together” is the correct choice.

Tips for Altogether vs All together

To navigate the subtle yet significant difference between “altogether” and “all together,” consider these tips:

  1. Remember the Core Meanings: “Altogether” refers to something being complete or total, similar to “entirely” or “wholly.” Use it when discussing the extent or degree of something. “All together” involves a group or collection being in one place or acting in unison. It’s about collective action or presence.
  2. Test with Separation: If you can insert words between “all” and “together” without losing your sentence’s meaning, you likely mean “all together.” For example, “We worked (all in one place) together” indicates “all together” is correct.
  3. Use Context Clues: “Altogether” is often used to make a general statement or conclusion, whereas “all together” is used when referring to people or things being grouped.
  4. Check for Adverbial Use: If the term is functioning as an adverb in your sentence (modifying a verb, adjective, or other adverb), “altogether” is the choice you want.
  5. Consider the Formality: Both terms are acceptable in formal writing, but their misuse can lead to clarity issues. Always opt for the one that precisely conveys your intended meaning.
  6. Practice with Examples: Create sentences using both “altogether” and “all together” to familiarize yourself with their correct usage. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to use them correctly.
  7. Peer Review: If you’re unsure which to use, ask someone else to read your sentence. A fresh set of eyes can help determine if the meaning is clear.
  8. Read Aloud: Sometimes, reading your sentence aloud can help you intuitively understand whether “altogether” or “all together” fits better based on the rhythm and flow of the sentence.


Which is Correct: Altogether or All Together?

Both “altogether” and “all together” are correct but used differently. “Altogether” means completely or entirely, while “all together” refers to a group being in unity. Choose based on context.

Is It Correct to Say We Are All Together?

Yes, “we are all together” is correct when referring to a group of people being in the same place or united in action or thought.

What is the Opposite of Altogether?

The opposite of “altogether,” which implies completeness, can be “partially” or “partly,” indicating something is not complete or total

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