Uploaded by Jonathan Fagan

OK vs Okay - which one should I use?

OK vs Okay
Where did it come from?
It is one of the most common words in the English language however it's just 150 years old. You can trace its roots back
to the 19th century Boston. It began in 1839 at the Boston Morning Post where among writerly folk abbreviations were
all the rage. It first appeared as an abbreviation for "Oll Korrect" printed in a satirical article about grammar. Then
President Martin van Buren in 1840 went by the name "Old Kinderhook" in the New York Toen where he hailed from. He
used OK in his campaign slogan which cemented the popularity of OK. The word is now used and recognised across
most languages, with many adopting their own spelling (like okei in Norwegian.
What's the difference?
There is actually no difference in meaning between "OK" and "okay", they just represent two different ways to spell the
same word which according to Merriam-Webster means "all right". Many people think OK is the shortened version of
okay but OK came first. It is alright to use either if you stick to using one or the other.
What's most commonly used?
Okay dominates in fiction as it is recommended by a lot of style guides to use, this is probably because people believe
that 'okay' looks more formal. However, overall OK is the most commonly used one when you compare every book.
Which should you use in formal writing?
Both these spellings are fine to use with neither being more formal than the other. The choice between which one you
use is only a matter of preference unless you are following a style guide which should specify one or another. Although
if you are using it to mean the verb "to approve" or the noun meaning "approval" you should use okay in contexts like
"Please review this and give me your okay on the changes.
Using O.K.
Although this is a correct way to spell, you should avoid spelling it like this as it can get confusing in your writing what
you now mean and whether O.K. is an acronym for something else like Oklahoma or OK! Magazine. This is definitely
the least common way of spelling it and honestly it doesn't look right.
"I'm feeling okay how are you?"
"OK I'll see you later,"
"Can you give me the okay on this?"
"I'll be there soon, OK"
"Are you okay?"
From Emily