all together vs. altogether

What is the difference between all together and altogether?

Like all ready and already, all together and altogether have separate meanings despite their similarity in appearance and pronunciation.
The two-word phrase all together has the general meaning of “at the same time or in the same place as a group.” For example:
  • “Now that we’re all together, I’d like to make an announcement.”
  • “It’s so nice hearing the group singing all together again after so many years.”
Altogether, on the other hand, means “entirely or completely; all included; on the whole,” as in:
  • “The meal was very good, but it was altogether too expensive.”
  • Altogether, we’ve seen a 20 percent rise in profits this year.”

Spelling Tricks and Tips

As a quick test to see which spelling is correct, try moving all to a different part of the sentence. If it still makes sense, then all together is correct; if not, altogether is the right choice. For example:
  • “He hid the cash all together in the floorboards beneath his bed.”
  • “After failing the class, he decided to drop out of school altogether.”
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