If you ask me...

I'm increasingly aware of, curious about and annoyed by the frequency with which folks seem to misusing "Okay."

For example:

John: Glad to meet you. Where are you from?
Mary: Concord.
John: Okay.  (often:  Oh, Okay.)

What's John saying here?
Is he confirming that Mary does, indeed, know where she lives?
Is he giving Mary permission to live in Concord?
Is he telling Mary that Concord is a decent place to live?
Is he giving approval, assent or agreement to Mary's living in Concord?


What's John saying here?

The above is just one example.  Keep you ears open today and listen for how often "Okay" enters your conversations and ask yourself, "Is it always okay to say okay?"


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  1. OK... but I'm not sure....it could be that habits from our texting are creeping into our spoken language.

    where r u from?

    OK?...prob not..lol!

  2. I'm not noticing "Okay" because I'm preoccupied with many (especially television commentators) beginning every sentence with "So.."

  3. I'm not noticing "Okay" because I'm preoccupied with many (especially television commentators) beginning every sentence with "So.."

  4. And THAT, Betsy, is fodder for another post!

  5. OK is just as commonly used here in the UK.
    I found these two intriguing links below which say that its widespread use probably dates back to an unfunny joke in an 1839 article in the Boston Morning Post.

    The first link also has an account of a serious consequence of its misuse.



    (This last one drew over 300 comments)

    Hope this is OK !!


  6. I once worked with an architect who did not like any of her employees using the word, "okay." I can't remember why it was she disliked it so much, but I do remember changing how I spoke so that I never had to use the word, "okay." I chose words like, "all right," and "very well."

    Now that I don't work with this person, I use "okay" every once in a while but try not to overuse it.

    Of course, nowadays when I text my college-aged son, he'll often respond to one my texts with a "k," as in "okay." I don't know how this developed but I imagine it had something to do with saving time.

    Get it?

  7. As a follow up to this post this morning I am listening to an intriguing BBC Radio 4 programme on a quest to improve the art of conversation and the way we engage in conversation and thought it may be of interest!



    I don't know if you can get it in the USA - the programmes are often are available after transmission on i-player.
    It involves someone called Professor Theodore Zeldin.



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