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OK Grace Tse

刊登日期: 2018.10.19
作者: Grace Tse  

Whether you are good at English or not, you might find the expression “OK” very easy to use. This two-letter word is so popular around the world that a lot of non-English speakers even mix it with their own mother tongue. Thus, it is not surprising that you often hear this expression uttered by Hong Kong people from all walks of life. 

OK? ( Are you OK? ) 

What do the two letters stand for? There are many explanations, and one of the most accepted stories originated in the middle of the 19th century. According to Allen Walker Read, an etymologist, the word “OK” was a shortened version of “oll korrect”, a playful misspelling of “all correct”. He noted that at that time, there was a fad where people deliberately formed acronyms from comical misspellings. 

Its written form first appeared in “Boston Morning Post”, an American newspaper, in 1839: 

“He … would have the ‘contribution box’, et ceteras, o.k.—all correct—and ….” 

Nowadays, the saying “OK” means acceptable or satisfactory. It has several written forms and grammatical functions. 

O.K. () Let’s start the talk now. (interjection) 

Luckily our apartment was ok (沒事) after the typhoon. (adjective) 

The manager gave an o.k. (批准) to the proposal. (noun) 

I did okay (不錯) in the test. (adverb) 

Despite being frequent in daily conversation, you seldom find this expression in formal writing, such as speeches, announcements and official correspondences. Thus, your teacher may not consider it OK if you use it in your homework. 


 

Glossary 

All walks of life 

社會各階層

Playful 

開玩笑的

Comical 

滑稽的

Acceptable 

可以接受的

Satisfactory 

令人滿意的

Speeches 

演辭

Announcements 

布告

Official correspondences 

公函

 


 

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