Oh, noooo…as Mr. Bill would say. It’s an escalating series of Os that writers do get wrong. There’s the vocative (always capitalized) O most frequently seen in Christmas carols, prayers, and poetry. It’s followed by the colloquial o’ that’s so handy in dialect dialogues, then the oh-so-standard oh, so beloved and well-used, and finally the ooh of surprise and jollity.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Your Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: o, o’, oh|
|Part of Grammar:|
Plural: Os, O’s, os, oes;
Noun 1, 7
[From Latin octarius, in prescriptions] A pint
[Baseball] Out, outs
A.k.a., Vocative O, ALWAYS capitalized in English
[Archaic] Used before a name in direct address, as in prayers and poetry
[Also oh] Zero (in a sequence of numerals, especially when spoken)
A shape like that of a capital O
Used as the terminal vowel of combining forms
Found in Irish patronymic names, it originally denoted the bearer as the son of
Used in direct address to attract the attention of the person spoken to
Used to express acknowledgment or understanding of a statement
Used to introduce an example or approximation
[Informal; used in electronic communication] A person’s wife, husband, or partner
Used to express a range of emotions including surprise, delight, or pain
The opposing team had two outs already, and it wasn’t looking good with this batter coming up.
Give peace in our time, O Lord.
Count it down with me: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, o.
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya.
Walk ahead o’ me.
It’s four o’clock already!?
Dinna follow the will-o’-the-wisp lest he lead ye astray.
OH is the official U.S. Postal Service abbreviation for the state of Ohio.
[Real estate] Open house
Me? Oh, I’m fine.
Oh, shut up.
Oh boy, now what are we gonna do?
Oh, John, will you take these books?
Oh, I see. You can’t come until tomorrow.
I often go to gigs on my own as my OH doesn’t have the same musical tastes as me.
Ooh, this is fun.
Ooh, my feet!
|History of the Word:|
|1 Natural exclamation first recorded in Middle English||4 Mid-18th century from the Irish ó, ua meaning descendant.||
5 On July 1, 1963, the Post Office Department implemented the five-digit ZIP Code, which was placed after the state name in the last line of an address. To provide room for the ZIP Code, the Department issued two-letter abbreviations for all states and territories. For more information, read Publication 59, Abbreviations for Use with ZIP Code (US Postal Service).
6 Mid-16th century and a variant of 1.
|Natural exclamation first recorded in English in the early 20th century.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?
Pinterest Photo Credits
Mr. Bill Image #4 courtesy of the Mr. Bill Gallery at Idolosol.com.