Word Confusion: Oh là là versus Ooh la la

Posted April 7, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

I’m finally putting together the Word Confusions book, and as I sorted the past Confusions into chapters, I realized I needed that chapter for diacritics. But, I had very few, and it seemed such a cheat to only have a few words in an entire chapter. Then I ran across oh là là. And…oh là là, là làaaa, have I ever learned about this exclamation!

For one thing, it is never pronounced ooh là là. Keep that oh short and sweet. As for the , you can repeat the là làs — and always in pairs! Think of it as emphasis. Think of it as a gorgeous guy (you lads can think of a bodalicious babe *grin*) who really catches your attention…and, oh là là, là làaaa!

One last point. Since oh là là is not in an English dictionary, it should be italicized. (For more on when to italicize foreign words, see the post, “Formatting Tips: Italics“.)

Word Confusions…

…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.

Oh là là Ooh là là
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Laura K. Lawless; WordReference.com

A black Jaguar XK at the Nationaal Oldtimer Festival Zandvoort 2009, The Netherlands.

Image is AlfvanBeem’s own work [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Oh là là, that Jaguar…!

Red slash
Part of Grammar:

Variant spelling, Ouh là là

Indicates surprise, disappointment, commiseration, distress, annoyance, indignation, sarcasm

  • Any moderately strong reaction to something that was just said or done

[Literally] Oh, there, there
[Everyday] Oh, dear
[Everyday] Oh, my
[Everyday] Oh, no

Often used in English to talk about something risqué and is mispronounced.
Oh là là, oh là là là là là là, who’s the hunk?

Oh là là, I can’t find my keys.

Oh là là, you’re scaring me.

Oh là là! What a catastrophe!

Oh là làaaaa! That is magnificent!

History of the Word:

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?