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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > Literary Merit > Is it Okay to use OK?
Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77313] Thu, 10 September 2020 23:20 Go to next message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin   United States

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I've had numerous conversations over the past two years with other authors, and even my editor Michael, about the "proper usage" of OK or Okay. All of which begs the question of origin--where did it come from and how did it start being used?

I recently came across the following from a retired American university professor:

What did the abbreviation "o.k." originally stand for?

All correct.

Newsroom slang: In spring 1839, readers of the Boston Morning Post likely noticed two small, obscure letters at the bottom of the paper's second column: "o.k." These letters were the fact-checking team's abbreviation for "all correct." Although it symbolized the team's sign-off for article accuracy, the abbreviation hardly seems accurate in and of itself. That's because it's not.
The joke that changed a language: The OK we know, love, and use today actually started as the editorial team's joke. In 1800s newsrooms, young staffers thought deliberately misspelling words in abbreviated slang was funny. They use abbreviations like "KG" to represent "know go" (the misspelling of no-go), and OK was their humorous alternative of "oll korrect."

When OK hit Washington: The term OK gained so much linguistic traction that Martin Van Buren coined it as his presidential campaign slogan in 1840. For Van Buren, who had the nickname "Old Kinderhook" from his hometown in upstate New York, the slogan OK insinuated that "Old Kinderhook was all correct." Van Buren may have lost the race to William Henry Harrison, but OK was the real victor. The abbreviation spread like wildfire, later earning the spelling adaptation "okay" in the 1868 novel "Little Women."

Then there's the matter of proper usage of one versus the other.

In American English it's fine to use either one, and we'll need our friends across the pond to weigh in on British English usage. The main determinant is following a style guide: the Associate Press recommends "OK" and the Chicago Manual of Style recommends "okay."

According to Mignon Fogarty (founder of Quick and Dirty Tips), because "okay" is the form recommended by Chicago, and Chicago is the dominant style guide in the publishing industry, "okay" is the dominant form in fiction, but "OK" wins overall in common usage...at least in the US! 8o




Bensiamin
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77322 is a reply to message #77313] Sat, 12 September 2020 13:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Camy is currently offline  Camy   United Kingdom

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Firstly, Mignon Fogarty sounds so ridiculously made up I had to resort to Google. She's real, it's not the pen name of a blind writer of F/F HEA fiction I thought it'd be. Ah well.

Across the pond, in the land where colour is spelt properly, ok, okay and, my favourite, okey-dokey are all good.

Honestly, why the supposed arbiter of correct English usage is headquartered in Chicago is quite beyond me. In my world it would be located in a small decrepit shack next to the Cam, and run by a doddering gray haired don (played by Hugh Grant). Not that it matters, as English is ever changing: Whatevs, simples, chillax, sumfin, Jafaican, Jedi and lightsabre are now all in the hallowed Oxford English Dictionary. One's mind boggles.



"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: Music and Cats." - Albert Schweitzer

It's like Mad Max out here: guys doing guys, girls doing girls, girls turning into guys and doing girls that used to do girls and guys!
- from Alex Truelove
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77323 is a reply to message #77322] Sat, 12 September 2020 21:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cole parker is currently offline  cole parker   Canada

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As a writer, I enjoy words and usages, like I imagine most of us do.  OK has always interested me because it keeps changing.  When I was young, in printed material I often saw o.k. used.  Then we went through a short peroiod of okay, followed by a much longer one of OK.  That was the usage for just about all published material for quite some time.  Now, recently, books and magazines and such have returned to okay.  This has happened during the 15 years I've been writing.  My early stories all use OK.  My most recent use okay.  Have to stay current, you know.

C
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77325 is a reply to message #77323] Mon, 14 September 2020 14:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Composer is currently offline  The Composer   Germany

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Registered: September 2018
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Use whatever you want to use. It's your story, after all.
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77326 is a reply to message #77323] Mon, 14 September 2020 15:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Merkin is currently offline  Merkin   United States

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Hey, Cole, is it OK for Californians to hide their hipness behind the Canadian flag?  Just askin'.
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77337 is a reply to message #77326] Fri, 18 September 2020 18:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cole parker is currently offline  cole parker   Canada

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If Trump is reelected, that Canadian flag will look much more beckoning!  Crossing that border is a long days drive from SoCal, but something to be considered.  

C
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77348 is a reply to message #77337] Sat, 19 September 2020 16:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Geron Kees is currently offline  Geron Kees   United States

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"cole parker wrote on Fri, 18 September 2020 18:17"
If Trump is reelected, that Canadian flag will look much more beckoning!  Crossing that border is a long days drive from SoCal, but something to be considered.  

C[/font-size]

--It's a four-hour drive for us. I know, because I've checked! Smile
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77349 is a reply to message #77337] Sat, 19 September 2020 19:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Camy is currently offline  Camy   United Kingdom

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"cole parker wrote on Fri, 18 September 2020 19:17"
If Trump is re-elected...

C

--
Noooo! Don't even posit the idea. Please!

[Updated on: Sat, 19 September 2020 19:59]




"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: Music and Cats." - Albert Schweitzer

It's like Mad Max out here: guys doing guys, girls doing girls, girls turning into guys and doing girls that used to do girls and guys!
- from Alex Truelove
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77350 is a reply to message #77349] Sun, 20 September 2020 02:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

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I've already got a place promised for me in the empty mother-in-law suite of a friend near Toronto! LOL



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77352 is a reply to message #77350] Sun, 20 September 2020 15:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cole parker is currently offline  cole parker   Canada

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With the passing of RBG, if they are able to get another Surpreme Court Justice nominated before Trump is trumped, we don't need to worry about the usage of 'okay'.  We won't be using the word much.

C
Re: Is it Okay to use OK?   [message #77354 is a reply to message #77352] Sun, 20 September 2020 15:08 Go to previous message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

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"cole parker wrote on Sun, 20 September 2020 08:02"

With the passing of RBG, if they are able to get another Surpreme Court Justice nominated before Trump is trumped, we don't need to worry about the usage of 'okay'.  We won't be using the word much.

C[/font-family]

--
We are completely and totally fucked...



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
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