Until the World Wide Web arrived I thought most people spelled most of the words they knew correctly. Not so, apparently. One misspelling that I have seen on Internet message boards (starting with this one) is actually not a misspelling but an attempt at a conjoined word: "Alot" -- as in "a lot." Really. I see it all over the place. Which leads me to conclude that the spelling of English words here in the U.S. (or the joining of two separate words when such is not called for) is a hit-or-miss deal. But how did people ever come to think that the words "a" and "lot" are combined into "alot"?