This is my first question here. My specific doubt does not seem to have been already answered, so here I am!

My questions are:

• What is the word 'alls', morphologically speaking?

• Would you be able to point its standard use, if there is any?

• Is the following sentence grammatical and/or acceptable? Is it a colloquialism?

"[...] they counterbalance acid and bitter flavors, thus making his recipe alls more enjoyable and adaptive to the tastes of every person."

Thank you in advance. Cheers!

  • I'm trying to think of any context at all where the word "alls" (with no apostrophe) would be appropriate. Can you give any example you've found in your reading? – Hot Licks Feb 6 '18 at 21:19
  • I have written an example between quotation marks just after the bullet points ;) – Nikolorien Feb 6 '18 at 21:25
  • For dialectal "Alls I want to say, is that ...", meaning "All I want to say is that ..." and comparing "Something I want to say is that ...", "alls" looks to be a contraction of "all is". (I don't find your example with "alls" to be acceptable.) – Greg Lee Feb 6 '18 at 21:30
  • 1
    You are right to doubt it - "alls" doesn't work in the example you quote. – Lawrence Feb 6 '18 at 22:32
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    "Doubts" cannot be answered. You mean "question". Otherwise people will think you have insecurity issues. :) – tchrist Feb 7 '18 at 2:26

The alls-construction is part of the dialects of Midwestern American English. It refers to the appearance of -s on the word all. It is also sometimes spelled with an apostrophe before the -s.

There has been some discussion on linguistlist.org about the possibility that the -s may be a reduced form or is or as. Some have also pointed out other potentially related cases where an -s suffix appears in spoken English, such as Hows about we leave soon? or That's a long ways away from here.

As for the use of alls, the -s suffix characteristic of the alls-construction has a restricted distribution, and cannot always appear on all. For example, -s would not appear on phrases such as all or nothing. The -s also cannot appear on all in inverted sentences (sentences in which the verb precedes the subject) or ordinary (or free) relative clauses (clauses starting with who, that, which, whose, where, and when). Some speakers of the dialects of which alls is characteristic of also reportedly do not allow the alls-construction with second person subjects.

The sentence you provided is not one of the characteristic uses of alls as it has been described. It seems to resemble phrases like all the more enjoyable. It is possible that it is a genuine construction/colloquialism for some speakers, but if so, it hasn’t been described in the linguistics literature, as far as we know.

Here’s a page we’ve written on the alls construction: https://ygdp.yale.edu/phenomena/alls-construction

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