Feeling all right

This headline gave me pause this morning (June 18): He’s got them feeling alright. I spent quite a bit of class time one morning when I was teaching a summer school English class of high school juniors explaining that, no, all right is never spelled alright. My students tried to explain that alright carried the connotation of being in fine condition, not that everything was fine. (Actually, they didn’t use those terms, but I knew what they meant.)

As another reader (my husband) pointed out to me, the headline is apparently a reference to the Dave Mason (Traffic) song “Feelin’ Alright.” (Joe Cocker’s recording is probably the best-known version.) We checked an album (yes, an actual vinyl LP) and found that Mason’s title is “alright.”

Just in case anyone is confused, however, alright is, as the dictionary says, a disputed spelling of all right. In other words, if you all write all right, you will always be all right.

I don’t even want to think about “aight.”

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.