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ok. vs. okay. Options
prolixitysquared
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2009 9:04:41 PM
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I am curious about how 'okay' became the shortened version often known as 'ok.' Is it just that the 'k' itself has a long 'a' sound, and so for the sake of being more brief, the final two letters started being omitted ?

And is it the case that 'okay' is more appropriate (if not substituted with more graceful and fitting synonyms) for formal writing while 'ok' is more acceptable for informal writing ?

'Ok' definitely wins in shorthand, I'm sure.

arthbard
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2009 9:40:28 PM
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This question may be more complicated than you think (the Wikipedia page on "okay" is huge). And, it may be that the two-letter version, "OK," actually preceded the spelling "okay."

Apparently, no one knows exactly where "OK" started, and there are a lot of questionable stories surrounding it, but most of the sources I've read seem to agree this one is the most likely:

Sometime in the 1800s, there was something of a fad of using exaggerated misspellings for comedic effect. One particular one that caught on was "oll korrect" (a misspelling of "all correct"), which became abbreviated as OK. Martin Van Buren may or may not have been responsible for further popularizing this abbreviated version when he ran for presidential office. Van Buren--who was born in Kinderhook, NY--had the nickname "Old Kinderhook," giving rise to his campaign slogan "Vote for OK."

Assuming this is true, "okay" probably arose as a phonetic spelling of "OK."

As for which is more appropriate, I couldn't really say. I tend to prefer "okay," because like you, I always assumed this was the "real" spelling and "OK" was just a shortened version of it. Also, "okay" does look more like an actual word, so I've always felt it looked better in writing. As far as I can tell, though, both version are generally accepted.
grammargeek
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2009 11:35:49 PM
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I've always preferred OK to okay. I don't know why I do. I just do. So that's the way I choose to spell it when I'm writing.

(NOW--let's see if that post gets copied!)
boo
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 12:01:04 AM
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www.straightdope.com/columns/read/503/what-does-ok-stand-for

This link may be helpful - there are some imaginative alternative interpretations of OK, just for fun.
Silvia
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 4:18:34 AM
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I think none of them is very appropriate for formal writing. On the other hand, I think it's "OK" that is spread worldwide (I've seen only native speakers using "okay")
Joseph Glantz
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 7:19:28 AM
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I vote for the guy on the Simpsons who says okilee dokilee
valenarwen
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 10:25:49 AM
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hey
I ain't native and favour the use of "okay"...
cleopatra clover
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 10:27:34 AM
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Most of the time I use ok, for informal writing. But now I found most people write it even shorter to just 'k'.
risadr
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 11:50:16 AM
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prolixitysquared wrote:
I am curious about how 'okay' became the shortened version often known as 'ok.' Is it just that the 'k' itself has a long 'a' sound, and so for the sake of being more brief, the final two letters started being omitted ?

And is it the case that 'okay' is more appropriate (if not substituted with more graceful and fitting synonyms) for formal writing while 'ok' is more acceptable for informal writing ?

'Ok' definitely wins in shorthand, I'm sure.



I actually always use 'okay,' and I physically cringe when my family and friends omit the last two letters.

And, fwiw, I would NEVER use "okay" OR "ok" in formal writing. And as a soon-to-be-English teacher, I'll probably mark off on my students papers if they do.
Akkuratix
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 2:22:37 PM
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I´ve heard saying that ok comes from Greecks "Ola Kala",Everything`s fine.
Silvia
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 2:47:19 PM
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valenarwen wrote:
hey
I ain't native and favour the use of "okay"...


I still think you were influenced by natives.
grammargeek
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 2:53:22 PM
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risadr wrote:
prolixitysquared wrote:
I am curious about how 'okay' became the shortened version often known as 'ok.' Is it just that the 'k' itself has a long 'a' sound, and so for the sake of being more brief, the final two letters started being omitted ?

And is it the case that 'okay' is more appropriate (if not substituted with more graceful and fitting synonyms) for formal writing while 'ok' is more acceptable for informal writing ?

'Ok' definitely wins in shorthand, I'm sure.



I actually always use 'okay,' and I physically cringe when my family and friends omit the last two letters.

And, fwiw, I would NEVER use "okay" OR "ok" in formal writing. And as a soon-to-be-English teacher, I'll probably mark off on my students papers if they do.


What does "fwiw" mean? (It's a good thing this forum is only semi-formal or I'd mark off for that!)
fred
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 3:16:44 PM
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I've always preferred OK to okay. I don't know why I do. I just do. So that's the way I choose to spell it when I'm writing.

valenarwen
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 3:18:54 PM
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grammargeek wrote:
risadr wrote:
prolixitysquared wrote:
I am curious about how 'okay' became the shortened version often known as 'ok.' Is it just that the 'k' itself has a long 'a' sound, and so for the sake of being more brief, the final two letters started being omitted ?

And is it the case that 'okay' is more appropriate (if not substituted with more graceful and fitting synonyms) for formal writing while 'ok' is more acceptable for informal writing ?

'Ok' definitely wins in shorthand, I'm sure.



I actually always use 'okay,' and I physically cringe when my family and friends omit the last two letters.

And, fwiw, I would NEVER use "okay" OR "ok" in formal writing. And as a soon-to-be-English teacher, I'll probably mark off on my students papers if they do.


What does "fwiw" mean? (It's a good thing this forum is only semi-formal or I'd mark off for that!)

would that be "phew"?
grammargeek
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 3:26:25 PM
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fred wrote:
I've always preferred OK to okay. I don't know why I do. I just do. So that's the way I choose to spell it when I'm writing.



I have just learned that there is a "Personal Message limit" (who knew?) so I'll have to say it here.

Fred, I am LMAO ! I wonder how many readers will understand why!
fred
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 3:33:52 PM
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grammargeek wrote:
fred wrote:
I've always preferred OK to okay. I don't know why I do. I just do. So that's the way I choose to spell it when I'm writing.



I have just learned that there is a "Personal Message limit" (who knew?) so I'll have to say it here.

Fred, I am LMAO ! I wonder how many readers will understand why!


I don't know. Are you trying to form your own In Crowd?

There are such things as arse restraints for those laughing loose of arse.
curt1124
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 7:42:38 PM

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I suspect FWIW is an abbreviation for "For What It's Worth." If that's true it would be approximately equivalent to IMHO or In My Humble Opinion.
grammargeek
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 11:15:06 PM
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curt1124 wrote:
I suspect FWIW is an abbreviation for "For What It's Worth." If that's true it would be approximately equivalent to IMHO or In My Humble Opinion.


Thank you very much!
Luftmarque
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 3:03:29 AM

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cleopatra clover wrote:
Most of the time I use ok, for informal writing. But now I found most people write it even shorter to just 'k'.

My son uses kk which I've picked up 'cause I think it's cute (like "moing" for "moving" thx Gwen). Falls into the "I'm too lazy/rushed/insouciant to spell" category. My spell-checkers prefer the all-caps OK to ok. If you read the Internet articles they mostly favor OK over Okay. And I have started to put all my texting-type acronyms & abbrevs in all-caps, so I would TTLY use FWIW not fwiw.
early_apex
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 8:15:10 AM
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FYI, this can be a useful reference web site for finding initialisms and TLA's:

http://www.acronymfinder.com/

Some amusing entries, too, such as Miata.
fred
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 10:54:10 AM
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boo wrote:
www.straightdope.com/columns/read/503/what-does-ok-stand-for

This link may be helpful - there are some imaginative alternative interpretations of OK, just for fun.



After reading that article, I am giving the ol' KO to OK. !b
Those Bostonians are funny, funny. Must be the beans or something.



s3callyx
Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 1:56:25 PM
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grammargeek wrote:
I've always preferred OK to okay. I don't know why I do. I just do. So that's the way I choose to spell it when I'm writing.

(NOW--let's see if that post gets copied!)


Shame on you Exactly the opposite. I hate this "slow death" of words. You cut a character, two, three and the word dies slowly. For english speakers who don't know "ola kala" I always keep "okay" just to ensure words survival.


Akkuratix wrote:
I´ve heard saying that ok comes from Greeks "Ola Kala",Everything`s fine.

100% correct! From "ola" (all) + "kala" (good / fine). A memento of WWI workers when they came to Greece looking for job at the Piraeus harbor (largest harbor in Greece). "Ola kala" was probably very difficult to learn, so they kept only the accent, which later wrote it on paper.

Luftmarque
Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 4:26:18 PM

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boo wrote:
What does OK stand for?
This link may be helpful - there are some imaginative alternative interpretations of OK, just for fun.

Just wanted to repost this link to balance s3callyx's sincere but by no means universally accepted or even representative of the majority view assertion of the Greek origin of OK.
grammargeek
Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 4:58:33 PM
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s3callyx wrote:
grammargeek wrote:
I've always preferred OK to okay. I don't know why I do. I just do. So that's the way I choose to spell it when I'm writing.

(NOW--let's see if that post gets copied!)


Shame on you Exactly the opposite. I hate this "slow death" of words. You cut a character, two, three and the word dies slowly. For english speakers who don't know "ola kala" I always keep "okay" just to ensure words survival.


Akkuratix wrote:
I´ve heard saying that ok comes from Greeks "Ola Kala",Everything`s fine.

100% correct! From "ola" (all) + "kala" (good / fine). A memento of WWI workers when they came to Greece looking for job at the Piraeus harbor (largest harbor in Greece). "Ola kala" was probably very difficult to learn, so they kept only the accent, which later wrote it on paper.



Even if one accepts the Greek "Ola Kala" as the origin of OK/okay, then it seems to me that the abbreviated version would indeed be OK since that represents the first letter of each word. On the other hand, okay is not consistent with any type of abbreviated form of "Ola Kala" either in spelling or sound.

It's OK with me if you prefer to write okay, but I think your reasoning is faulty. So s3callyx, Speak to the hand .
Vayres
Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 5:01:54 PM
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I think 'okay' is a lengthening phonetically; not 'OK' a short form.

I heard it had to do with Presidential history. And following that link...

It refers to Old Kinderhook, associated with Martin Van Buren, maybe somehow part of a campaign slogan that worked its way into popular language.



prolixitysquared
Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 7:48:21 PM
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I never would have expected so many interpretations to come out of this. Very interesting and of course quite new to me.
jagh55
Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 4:50:47 PM
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Is it Ok or OK? Or perhaps ok? One capital letter or two or none?
krmiller
Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 11:00:48 PM
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jagh55 wrote:
Is it Ok or OK? Or perhaps ok? One capital letter or two or none?


Two, definitely. Think about other acronyms that have all of their letters pronounced, like "FBI," "CIA," "NCIS." They are always written in all capital letters. If one of the letters is not capitalized, then you would pronounce it as a word, like "ahk" or "ohk." (Unless it was spelled "oK," in which case I don't know how you'd pronounce it!)

I'm not going to chastise everyone who's written "ok" or "Ok" in this thread, but I hope you understand why it doesn't make sense!

Though personally, I usually use "okay" unless I'm in a hurry. And Luftmarque, I do occasionally use "kk," though these days it tends to remind me of a webcomic character known as KK.
LeadPal
Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 11:24:40 PM
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I dislike seeing acronyms in my writing. They draw attention to themselves, screaming in ALL CAPS, like a child with no indoor voice. So, naturally, I favour "okay".
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