Short and Sweet: Grammar Cake Pops – All ready vs. Already

22, Oct 2012 by Rachel Berens-VanHeest in Featured,Grammar,Writing Craft     ,   1 Comment


For the next few columns, I’m keeping things short and sweet by looking at very specific grammar issues. By keeping the focus on one issue at a time, it should be easier to remember. Think of them as bite-sized grammar treats! The cake pop of the grammar world!

This time it’s “all ready” vs. “already.” Many people use these worlds interchangeably, since they sound the same.

So what do they mean?  “All ready” means “completely prepared.” “All” is an indefinite pronoun, and “ready” is an adjective.

EXAMPLE: Since I studied for three hours, I’m all ready for the test on Tuesday.

“Already” means “by this or that time” and is an adverb.

EXAMPLE: By the time Shelly got to the party, Mark had already arrived.

The grammar way to remember the difference is that if you’re using the adverb, it’s probably modifying a verb. (In the example above, the verb is “had arrived.”) But if you hate grammar and want a different, easy way to remember, I’ve got a different trick for you.

The mnemonic on this one is very simple: can you replace it with the two words “completely prepared”? If you can, then you know you should be using the two words “all ready.” If you can’t, you need the one word adverb, “already.”

EXAMPLE: I all ready know that I should go to bed early.

If we substitute in the words, we get: “I completely prepared know that I should go to bed early.” This is obviously incorrect! Let’s try another.

EXAMPLE: Bob is all ready for his meeting tomorrow.

If we make the substitution, we get: “Bob is completely prepared for his meeting tomorrow.” Perfect!

I hope you enjoyed this month’s grammar cake pop! Look for more short and sweet treats in future months!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Rachel is a full-on, hardcore grammar freak. Her favorite punctuation marks are parentheses, em dashes and ellipses. She still loves adverbs, but is trying to wean herself off of them. And she truly believes that it’s okay to split an infinitive. In addition to her grammar obsession, Rachel writes light contemporary romance – occasionally with a paranormal twist – and is published in short fiction. Rachel also works as a freelance proofreader and copy editor. Learn more at[/author_info] [/author]

One thought on “Short and Sweet: Grammar Cake Pops – All ready vs. Already”

  1. Chris says:

    Good tip using “Completely prepared.” I’ve never had much trouble with all ready and already, but now I’ll always be certain which to use in any situation. Thanks, Rachel.

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