There are several English phrases that are easily confused with each other, especially when it comes to when to use them. It seems like their meanings are similar enough that they can be confusing. One of these word and phrase pairs in already and all ready. What do they mean, and when should you use which one?
If you are using the word already, it means that you are talking about something that has happened in the past. This is an adverb that means before, or by the time in question. This is often used to talk about things in a certain time order. You want to make sure to set apart the time that something was finished and when you are talking about it. Some examples include:
- When you mentioned that the tapes might be useful, I already had them in secure storage.
- The teacher was surprised when Bobby earned an 80% on the quiz seeing as his typical scores were around 40% and 50%; it turned out that he had already read the book and studied it.
For both of these examples, the act in question (putting the tapes in secure storage and reading the book) happened before. Some synonyms of already include by this time, thus far, so far, hitherto, before, etc.
All Ready Definition
All ready has a completely different meaning. It is a predeterminer (all) and an adjective (ready) combined together. It has nothing to do with time; instead, it is about whether or not someone is prepared for something!
Being ready means that you are prepared to go somewhere or do something. If you are all ready, it means that you are completely or absolutely ready. There are no more preparations that you need to do. If you need to take action right away, you would be able to do it.
- I thought that Larry was all ready for the presentation, but it turned out that he had not even begun his preparations!
- The dance class starts in two minutes; are you all ready to get started or do I need to bring you anything?
For both of these examples, you can see that the speaker is talking about whether or not the person is equipped or organized for something. Some synonyms of all ready include completely ready, all set, very ready, very prepared, ready to go, equipped, primed, geared up, etc.
When to Use Already and All Ready
When it comes to choosing between the word and the phrase, the considerations should not be that difficult. Choose already when you are talking about something that has happened in the past. When there is a request but you have done it, you should use already. If there was an accident, event, or something else that has to do with timing, the right word should be already.
For asking about preparation, you should use all ready. This is useful when you are about to do something. You might be preparing to go on a trip or present your work for something. Either way, you are looking forward to something that it happening in the near future. For cases like these, you should use all ready.
Notes About All Ready
One thing that you want to be a little bit careful of is the use of the phrase all ready after the subject “you”. If you ask, “Are you all ready?” the people that you are addressing can be a bit confusing because you all is commonly used to refer to a plural group of people.
While in English there is no formal way to say “you” in a plural way, “you all” (abbreviated y’all in some parts of the world) is the substitute. This can make your meaning unclear. To avoid this, substitute the phrase all ready for one of the synonyms that are listed above!