Already vs. All Ready: What’s the Difference?

English has many words which are homophones or near homophones, that is, words and phrases which are pronounced alike but do not mean the same thing and are spelled differently.

It’s easy to mix up homophones in your writing. These substitutions are one of the most common mistakes even experienced writers can make.

Already and all ready sound the same when spoken out loud, but they are not interchangeable. Continue reading to find out whether you mean already or all ready, and why.

What is the Difference Between Already and All Ready?

In this article, I will compare already vs. all ready. I will use each in a sentence, so you can see each in its proper context. Plus, at the end of the post, I will show you a helpful trick to use when you can’t decide whether to use already or all ready in your own writing.

When to Use Already

all ready versus already What does already mean? Already functions as an adverb and is defined as by now or a specified time. See the following sentences for examples.

  • George, Paul, John, and Ringo already boarded the plane.
  • I already told you to stop tapping your fingers on the table.
  • Even though the couple was having a nice evening, it was already time to go home.

Many writers mistakenly substitute already for all ready, and vice versa. As you can see, these terms are not freely interchangeable, and each should be reserved for the context in which it best fits.

When to Use All Ready

Definition of all ready definition and definition of already definitionWhat does all ready mean? All ready is a phrasal adjective that means collectively prepared. If you had a group of six members who wanted to go skydiving, and each member had taken all the steps required to go skydiving, you could say that the team was all ready. Here are more examples.

  • George, Paul, John, and Ringo are all ready to board the plane.
  • The teacher asked his students, “are we all ready to take the test?”
  • Cubs fans are all ready to watch their team dominate in the playoffs.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define all ready and define alreadyHere is a helpful trick to remember all ready vs. already.

  • All ready describes a group of people or objects, the entirety of which is prepared to take an action.
  • Already describes a point in the past at which an event happened.

You can remember that all ready refers to a group since the word all also refers to the entirety of a group. By looking at the meanings of the individual words that make up this phrase, you can remember that all ready refers to a group of people or objects.

All ready is also a synonym for the phrase totally ready, which just so happens to contain the word all. This is an easy mnemonic.

  • All ready = Totally ready.

If you are referring to an event that happened in the past, be sure to use already instead.

Summary

Is it already or all ready? Already and all ready are terms that describe an event in the past and a group of people or items, respectively. They cannot be substituted for each other without committing an easily recognizable error.

  • Already means before now or by now or the time in question.
  • All ready means ready to go­; all set.

You can remember that all ready refers to a group of people by looking at the meanings of the individuals words that make up this phrase. All also refers to the entirety of a group or quantity.

If you still need help, you can check this article again for a refresher.