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Thread: OK? [OK vs. okay]

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW totopink's Avatar
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    OK? [OK vs. okay]

    How do I go about spelling this?

    I've been going over my edits and I've seen that I've used it more than once. I've been spelling it 'Okay' but I'm wondering if it should be spelt OK or O.K. instead?

    O.K. just seemed a bit stunted when I swapped it in. "Are you O.K.?" seems to read a lot more formally whereas "Are you okay?" seems more sensitive.

    Does it matter which way I write it or is there a "rule" I should be following?

  2. #2
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Any of the above is fine. Just be consistent and use only one. If you contract the work to a publisher that uses something different from what you did, they'll change it.

    Personally, I prefer to spell it out. But I see it all three ways in published material.
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  3. #3
    Crazy Cat Lady AbielleRose's Avatar
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    I don't think there's a rule for 'okay' spelling, but I tend to go by a general rule all of my English teachers preached while growing up- if you're writing a story don't abbreviate, spell it all out. Because of that, I would use 'okay' instead of 'O.K./OK'.

  4. #4
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Nope- be consistent and the publisher will change it to whatever version they prefer.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW flapperphilosopher's Avatar
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    "Okay" is the standard, though not in an absolute way.

    On a slight tangent, I agree O.K. and even OK seems pretty formal and stilted-- since I found out "okay" is standard, probably over ten years ago, I haven't used anything else, even in emails and IM etc., so when a friend uses OK I stumble over it, I've had to remind myself it isn't a more formal, colder version, haha.
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  6. #6
    Mentoring Myself and Others Debbie V's Avatar
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    I read the abbreviation in a different tone than the spelled out version, too. However, I'd never use OK. It needs both periods.

  7. #7
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    No one knows what OK/O.K./okay even means, let alone what the correct spelling is.
    Whatever is written, is written, and so shall be until the end of time.

  8. #8
    Horror Man seun's Avatar
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    I always wrote OK; my publisher asked me to change it to okay. I changed it. It was OK okay fine with me.

    As has been said, stay consistent and change it if asked.

  9. #9
    Trust: that most precious coin. little_e's Avatar
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    I always use "okay".

  10. #10
    Shooting stars. lolchemist's Avatar
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    Add another vote for "okay." Somehow I find the visual of "O.K." a bit jarring when I'm trying to read. And it's like "O.K." has the exact amount of button pushes as "okay" anyway, so why bother? (or... actually it has two more because you're pressing the shift key too, LOL)

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  11. #11
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    I have edited for places where the house style was "OK" and for places where the house style was "okay". "O.K." seems off to me.

    The important thing is to be consistent; that makes it easier for the copy editor to change it all at once if your choice and your publisher's aren't the same.

    My preference is pretty strongly for "okay" if anyone cares.


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  12. #12
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie V View Post
    I read the abbreviation in a different tone than the spelled out version, too. However, I'd never use OK. It needs both periods.
    It doesn't 'need' periods any more than any other acronym does. Periods in acronyms have really fallen out of use. BMI. AIDS. CBS. NBC. USPS. SOS. IRS. US. UK. OK. And so on.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by n3onkn1ght View Post
    No one knows what OK/O.K./okay even means, let alone what the correct spelling is.
    O.K. means Oll Korrect, or Old Kinderhook, if you are in a presidential campaign.

  14. #14
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    I spell it out.
    Susan

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  15. #15
    A bit of a wallflower absitinvidia's Avatar
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    This comes up every couple of months. Can a mod maybe sticky one of the posts so it's there for easy reference?

  16. #16
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Logical suggestion for these repeat issues, but history shows availability for easy reference doesn't mean folk are going to look for it, sadly.

    Quote Originally Posted by absitinvidia View Post
    This comes up every couple of months. Can a mod maybe sticky one of the posts so it's there for easy reference?
    Everything yields to treatment.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW AnWulf's Avatar
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    OK, ok, okay, or okeh

    Quote Originally Posted by Terie View Post
    It doesn't 'need' periods any more than any other acronym does. Periods in acronyms have really fallen out of use. BMI. AIDS. CBS. NBC. USPS. SOS. IRS. US. UK. OK. And so on.
    I agree with yu that it doesn't need periods. O.K. would mean there were two words or only the letters themselves but ok/okay/okeh is a word and only one word.
    Wes şu hal! ... I'm a free-speller (altho, tho, thru, enuff, hav, yu, yur, groop, ~tiv (no e), and many more) ... and I brook (use) old words with old meanings. Go not forthe as a dombe freke. — Book of Courtesy, 1475

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW AnWulf's Avatar
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    okeh

    Quote Originally Posted by Snick View Post
    O.K. means Oll Korrect, or Old Kinderhook, if you are in a presidential campaign.
    "We arrived OK" - notation in the hand-written diary of a traveller going from Boston to New Orleans and back in 1815.

    The Choctaw Expression "Okeh" 
and the Americanism "Okay"

    Jim Fay, Ph.D. 
7/14/07

    
Abstract: The etymology of "'OK" based on the Choctaw "okeh" that was cited in dictionaries well into the twentieth century, and how that etymology came to be replaced by one formulated by Allen Read.
 http://www.illinoisprairie.info/chocokeh.htm
    Wes şu hal! ... I'm a free-speller (altho, tho, thru, enuff, hav, yu, yur, groop, ~tiv (no e), and many more) ... and I brook (use) old words with old meanings. Go not forthe as a dombe freke. — Book of Courtesy, 1475

  19. #19
    figuring it all out BrianByrne's Avatar
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    This is why I love find and replace.
    "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of other people's opinions drown out your inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become." - Steve Jobs

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW
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    I LOVE that AW is a community full of people that can fill a whole thread with this discussion. I don't mean that in a condescending way, I genuinely love talking to people who are literate and interested in the minutiae of language.

    Anyway, I usually go with okay because I think it flows better.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW
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    If you do search and replace make sure to use " OK " and specify match case, otherwise you're gonna get some funky looking words from that.

    Any time I read "OK" my mind says Oklahoma. The statement above "We arrived OK" made me wonder why the person was talking about New Orleans.

  22. #22
    Flogging a World of Dead Horses Scott Kaelen's Avatar
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    Despite this:
    mid 19th century (originally US): probably an abbreviation of orl korrect, humorous form of all correct, popularized as a slogan during President Van Buren's re-election campaign of 1840 in the US; his nickname Old Kinderhook (derived from his birthplace) provided the initials
    I still dislike writing or reading 'OK', and definitely not 'O.K.'

    To me, more than one and a half centuries have made the original abbreviation void, and now 'okay' is a word of its own right, rather than two words. I always write it as 'okay'.

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW AnWulf's Avatar
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    Oklahoma is OK

    Quote Originally Posted by Fins Left View Post
    If you do search and replace make sure to use " OK " and specify match case, otherwise you're gonna get some funky looking words from that.

    Any time I read "OK" my mind says Oklahoma. The statement above "We arrived OK" made me wonder why the person was talking about New Orleans.
    I tend to think about Oklahoma when I see OK as well ... but then, Oklahoma plays off it as their license plates read "Oklahoma is OK".

    In the 1815 bit, I think the traveller was returning from New Orleans ... where he likely picked up the expression from his friends there.

    All the choices are ... well ... ok! lol It doesn't matter if one notes OK, ok, okay, or even okeh ... they're all good.
    Wes şu hal! ... I'm a free-speller (altho, tho, thru, enuff, hav, yu, yur, groop, ~tiv (no e), and many more) ... and I brook (use) old words with old meanings. Go not forthe as a dombe freke. — Book of Courtesy, 1475

  24. #24
    is not a My Little Pony KRHolbrook's Avatar
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    I don't think I've ever seen "O.K." written within a novel, but I have seen either "okay" or "OK." As long as you keep to one specific spelling, then it's fine.

  25. #25
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    http://www.merriam-webster.com/video...?&t=1335490915

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianByrne View Post
    This is why I love find and replace.
    This is how Okaylahoma happens.
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