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Alan Jones typed thus:
In really modern usage (i.e. 2004, not 1926), "alright" actually ... original posting. My grammar was all right. Alright? OK.

It's not all right with this Englishman, who would expect a sub-editor to correct your "alright"s.

Is Usenet subbed? Are there any jobs going? It would be a full time task over in uk.local.manchester.

David
==
In really modern usage (i.e. 2004, not 1926), "alright" actually ... original posting. My grammar was all right. Alright? OK.

It's not all right with this Englishman, who would expect a sub-editor to correct your "alright"s.

The Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary defines "alright" as "an unaccepted spelling of all right". The Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary defines it as "adv disp(uted) = all right".

I personally disagree with both of these definitions, and indeed I would describe the Chambers definition as hidebound. For many years, "alright" has been used even by the well educated. When used in the correct educated sense it has a meaning distinct from "all right".
"Mary did alright in her Maths exam". She performed sufficiently well to gain the pass mark.
"Mary answered her questions all right in the Maths exam". She received a mark of 100%.
"I did alright at the job interview". Apart from the fact that I totally disagreed with the interviewer on the distinction between "alright" and "all right", I did very well in all other aspects of the interview. So well that I believe that I have a good chance of being offered the job of sub-editor.

Richard Chambers Leeds UK.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
I once read an Italian novel (I forget the author ... "(who was not without a degree of common sense)" appended.

The point being what? That this is a common formation in Italian?

It was in English translation.
The point being that it was not, as Fowler seemed to think, peculiarly English in character.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
The point being what? That this is a common formation in Italian?

It was in English translation. The point being that it was not, as Fowler seemed to think, peculiarly English in character.

Fowler wrote that understatement was "congenial," not "unique," to the "English character" (though he didn't specify which English character he had in mind).
It would be interesting to know, though, whether your translator found a double-negative in the Italian and brought it over, or rather decided to use a double-negative where some other form existed in the Italian.

Michael West
Here is Fowler's opinion (MEU, 1927, s.v. not 2): But the very popularity of the idiom in English is proof ... pleasant to believe that it owes its success with us to a stubborn national dislike of putting things too strongly.

P.S. It strikes me that this trick was common, and IIRC considered elegant, in classical Latin, e.g., "nonnihil" (literally not-nothing) by the side of "aliquid" for "something". So it might have had its start in English as a borrowing by the learned. That of course is perfectly consistent with its being congenial to the English temperament perhaps for another reason than (oh, hell, why is English syntax sometimes so unobliging? perhaps elsewhy than) it was congenial to the ancient Roman temperament.

Joe Fineman (Email Removed)
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It's not all right with this Englishman, who would expect a sub-editor to correct your "alright"s.

It's that sort of attitude that makes me want to use that spelling all the more. Alright? I can say "They are not all right", but not "It is all right". I suppose I could go with "It is wholly right", but that sounds weird.

Rob Bannister
As pointed out by someone else, it is not always derogatory - it depends on the context.

Rob Bannister
Really? Isn't it the case that Japanese people are not ... because the equivalent in my native German wouldn't be, normally.

As pointed out by someone else, it is not always derogatory - it depends on the context.

Indeed not, and I doubt that it would be taken as
derogatory in very many contexts. As has been noted here, it is most commonly a form of understatement, not negation.

Michael West
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
It's not all right with this Englishman, who would expect a sub-editor to correct your "alright"s.

It's that sort of attitude that makes me want to use that spelling all the more.

Why am I not surprised?
'Alright' stands out like a roasted pig in a vegetarian restaurant, it is so abhorrent. As Alan confirms, the word is spelled 'all right'. End of story.

Charles Riggs
My email address: chriggs/at/eircom/dot/net
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