Humanities › English All Together vs. Altogether Commonly Confused Words Share Flipboard Email Print "It's a different kind of flying altogether" (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Otto the Autopilot, and Robert Hays at a press conference marking the 30th anniversary of the movie Airplane!). Albert L. Ortega/WireImage/Getty Images English English Grammar An Introduction to Punctuation Writing By Richard Nordquist English and Rhetoric Professor Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester B.A., English, State University of New York Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. our editorial process Richard Nordquist Updated October 19, 2017 Because you can't depend on your spellchecker to know the difference between the homophones all together and altogether, you need to be able to tell them apart. Definitions The phrase all together (two words) refers to people or things gathered in one place or all acting together. The adverb altogether (one word) means entirely, wholly, or in all. Examples "They came from all parts of Peru. They had never seen each other before but they were all together now, lined up in front of the cement hulks whose insides they had not yet seen."(Mario Vargas Llosa, The Time of the Hero, trans. by Lysander Kemp. Grove Press, 1966)"I saw I was losing the conversation, if in fact I had not already lost it altogether."(Maya Angelou, Mom & Me & Mom. Random House, 2013)When 50 Elvis impersonators appeared all together at Windsor Palace, the queen observed that this was "altogether inappropriate." Usage Note " All together is used only in sentences that can be rephrased so that all and together may be separated by other words:- The books lay all together in a heap.- All the books lay together in a heap."( 100 Words Almost Everyone Confuses and Misuses. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004) The Lighter Side of Altogether and All Together Ted Striker: I flew single engine fighters in the Air Force, but this plane has four engines. It's an entirely different kind of flying altogether. Rumack and Randy [together]: It's an entirely different kind of flying.(Airplane! 1980) Practice Exercise (a) The clowns stood ______ at the front of the chapel. (b) Despite their painted smiles, the clowns' sorrow was ______ clear. Answers to Practice Exercises (a) The clowns stood all together at the front of the chapel. (b) Despite their painted smiles, the clowns' sorrow was altogether clear.