One common mistake business writers make is confusing all together with altogether.

Altogether (one word) is an adverb, meaning “completely” or “all in all.” On the other hand, all together (two words) is a phrase meaning “in a group” and can refer to people or things. An easy way to keep these straight is to remember that when you use the phrase all together, you can also use the words all and together separately in the sentence.

Examples:

  • Please send your 2011 reports all together to my assistant. (In this case, all together refers to a group of things and you could use the words all and together separately, such as “Please send all your 2011 reports together to my assistant.”)
  • We are excited to have lunch all together today. (In this case, all together refers to a group of people.)
  • I see this approach as altogether too time-consuming. (In this case, altogether means entirely or completely.)
  • This vendor’s price estimate for all aspects of the project sums to $3,000 altogether. (In this case, altogether means all in all.)
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