Are you OK?

It’s OK to be confused about how to write “OK.” It’s one of the most common words in the English language, yet we can’t seem to agree on its presentation in our text. Is it two letters or four? Are there periods in the two-letter version, and can we get away with using all lowercase letters?

The answer: It’s oll korrect.

Let us explain. “Oll korrect” was part of the 1800s’ version of internet slang: It was ​fashionable in some circles​ to deliberately misspell phrases and use their abbreviations in writing. So ​“no go” became “know go,”​ shortened to “K.G.” And “all correct” became “​oll korrect​,” or “O.K.”

This trend spilled into the public writing of the era, specifically, according to Allan Metcalf, an English professor who literally wrote the ​book​ on “OK,” into the Boston Morning Post in 1839.

And with a nudge from the 1840 presidential campaign of Martin Van Buren, or “Old Kinderhook,” and his “O.K. Clubs,” “OK” caught on.

OK, so is it settled then? It’s an abbreviation of “oll korrect,” and therefore we should write it as “O.K.” Okay?

Not quite. Periods are still a K.G. (no go) when writing “OK.”

Use "OK" instead of "okay": "She said it was OK with her if they went out that night." Use an apostrophe in "OK'd" and "OK'ing" but not in "OKs."

As with many things in language, there’s not always one “right” answer. So even though our ​style guide​ recommends using “OK,” plenty of ​publications use​ “okay.”

And that’s OK with us. We think they are, um, all correct 😉

Which version of “OK” do you prefer? Hit reply and let us know.

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