The Wonderful World of Words, Pt. 1:
Meaning & Existence ~
There are certain words in the English language that are used in casual conversation that cannot be found in the dictionary (or are only listed as ‘slang’ or ‘common usage’). When our characters speak and think to themselves, these words are fair game. However, your prose should not contain them. Today we will look at:
All right vs. Alright
Void vs. Devoid
Alright and Devoid are not ‘real’ words. They are contrivances of known words and ideas that have been generally accepted through their over-use and misuse.
The proper way is to print out two words – all right. Sloppiness and frequent use of the incorrect spelling ‘alright’ leads the average person to believe that they have spelled the word correctly, but they haven’t. It’s like a lot vs. alot. Alot is not a word, neither is alright. Don’t be tempted to squish two words together in order to make one new one – these words are not compound words (take two different words, stick them together and make a completely new idea/word: straw vs. berry = strawberry).
Void is the correct term to use when you mean, “empty of, space, the absence of, no longer existing, etc.” Devoid was created by the common populous as a way of ramping up the word ‘void’ and making it somehow mean a higher degree of the same thing. Devoid is bad grammar. Use the word void instead.
Anyone with a background in English Literature or someone who simply loved English class has an internal cringe-meter when words like these cross our paths. If you want your writing to be taken seriously by reviews who have a background in English Language Studies and the Literary Arts, edit these errors out of your writing and show the world which is the right word to use.
For those of you used to working with devoid and alright, you might bring to mind the word ‘altogether.’ Essentially ‘all’ and ‘together’ were combined some 20 odd years ago and when I was a child attending school the older teachers would harp on the fact that the proper spelling was simply “all together” – just as I am doing now. Perhaps some day altogether and alright will no longer affect personal cringe-meters, but the fact that it still is and neither of these words is truly legitimate according to renowned sources… you will need to edit your prose accordingly.