- Books, Literature, and Writing
Other Words To Use In Place Of A Lot
The phrase “A Lot” has been used… well, a lot. We tend to throw it in when we are talking about a large number of something.
It’s easy to say and familiar so we bring it in often when we can’t think of other words or phrases that might work just as well.
There is even a grocery store with that name in the title: Save A Lot.
I am just as guilty if not more so than the average English speaking person. This phrase is relatively new and several decades a go people didn’t even use the word “lot” in this way. We tend to choose a few words and overwork the poor things and this one is a prime example.
Don’t worry; this won’t be a dull English lesson. I’ll try to make it as interesting as possible for those with a short attention span.
What is the definition of “Lot”?
First we must look at the true definition of the main word.
In the old days drawing lots, meant to throw a dice or straws to see who won. This was called "casting lots."
It was a game played mostly by men and money or property was usually the winnings.
They might say, “He has a bad “lot” in life,” meaning his luck was bad. Fate wasn’t kind to the fellow.
It can also refer to good luck. “He has a lucky lot in life.”
Of course it also can be used to describe a plot of land. “We are building a new house on that lot.”
Any parcel of land is a lot. It’s often used on Hollywood sets; you’ll go to lot number something or other.
And of course, last but not least, one of the definitions is: group.
This is how you see it used in most conversation today.
If you have “a lot” of something you have a group of things: time, M&M’s, shoes, puppies… I’m sure this one is very familiar to you.
Other words we could use instead of “lot”
It’s not that we use it incorrectly but rather we get carried away and overwork the poor word.
Let’s give the guy a break and try using some of his cohorts for a change.
So if we don’t say, “a lot,” what exactly do we use in his place?
What words are suitable replacements for “a lot”?
I “often” go to that restaurant.
We buy strawberries “quite a bit” from that market.
Brad “frequently” watches baseball.
Connie “constantly” shops for shoes.
Belinda eats chocolate “all of the time.” (Be careful, though, as this phrase is almost as overused as “a lot.”)
“I have a “tremendous amount” of time on my hands and don’t know what to do with it.” (Don’t we wish.)
“Greg goes to Kansas as “much” as he can.”
“We “habitually” attend poetry readings.”
“Susan has been to Paris “many times’.”
“It’s “common” for us to be at the park.”
Some of these may be a bit awkward at first and we’ll have to think before resorting to our old stand by but eventually we’ll get used to broadening our horizons and give ol’ “A Lot” a rest.
Improper use of the phrase, "a lot."
Misspelling “a lot” by putting the two together: “alot”
Microsoft Word was not happy with me and tried to correct my above faux pas but I wanted to point out this often-made error.
I’m sure you’ve seen it and the trouble is when words are written wrong often enough people start to see it as normal.
Memes often have errors and eventually people who aren’t terribly good spellers to begin with start to believe it is the right way.
Before you know it we have an epidemic of “alots” all over the World Wide Web upsetting the grammar police and English teachers, not to mention irritating we writers who try to keep the dictionary holy.
Phew, that was a long sentence.
Not to be confused with “Allot”
The closest thing to “alot” (settle down spell check I haven’t gone off the deep end) is “allot” which has an entirely different meaning.
Allot means to assign or give a portion or share of something. If you were to get money or property during the reading of a will you would have an allotment.
“I allotted a quarter acre to each of my sons.”
“We will allot an oak tree to each new lot owner.”
Please don’t add another “L” trying to appease spell check; it won’t work--- unless of course you are giving or getting property in which case, carry on.