Succeed in America

Overcome Cultural and Linguistic Barriers. Improve Effectiveness

nara@SucceedinAmerica.com 



When it is OK and not OK to use the word OK (OK usage)



Everybody knows what OK means.  However, is it always used appropriately?

Often foreigners and non-native speakers of English are not aware of multiple uses of the word “okay” assuming that it always means “yes” or “alright.”   For instance, in the official situation, 

when your supervisor gives you an assignment (Could  you please make this report available by Friday morning?) it is not recommended to say “okay.”  Good answer is   “yes, of course” .

 I will list below some common usages of the word.

As illogical as it seems but in a certain situation it can mean  so-so. E.g.:  How is your dad after surgery? He is OK, needs some therapy to recover.

OK can  mean agreement, permission if there are some additional circumstances to take into consideration. For instance, I have doctor’s appointment and will be back in two hours or so. Okay, but be sure to be back by the end of the day.

Other usages:

-When you are confirming a meeting or date.  So, we will meet on Friday at noon at the restaurant.  OK, agreed.

 When a  speaker  is seeking permission.-Is it OK if I bring along kids to the party? Of course, we will be happy to have them.

– Okay, Okay. Can mean irritation. E.g.:. okay okay,  calm down!

4. Ok? May equal to: Did you understand me?

5. Are you okay? This phrase used when somebody slipped and was about to fall.  Or or somebody’s coughing badly almost suffocating, and you say “Okay-okay” soothing them.

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