“Ok” or “Okay”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

You will be …

Can you help complete the sentence?

I used to think that OK is the short version of okay.

Do you also think the same?

It is okay if you do not have clues ‘cos we will provide the answers in this article.

What are the definitions of okay and OK?

Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘okay’ as ‘satisfactory, all correct, fine, in good health, in good order, acceptable, or adequate.’

The verbs “ok” and “okay” are used to describe things that are neither nice nor terrible. It’s okay or neutral.

We also use it to agree with someone by saying something like “okay.”

See also: “Canon” vs “Cannon”: How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

Is there a difference between okay and OK?

No. Both the usage and meaning are the same. They are versatile words. OK and okay can be used to confirm that everything is good, change the subject, show agreement, and get clarification.

See also: When to Use “Passed” vs “Past”: Definitions and Examples

Is OK just a short form of okay?

It is actually the opposite. Okay is the word that is derived from OK.

The origin of OK is not known but story has it became popular in the 19th century.

President Martin Van Buren, known as “Old Kinderhook” due to his hometown of Kinderhook, New York, was running for reelection at the same time. What a great coincidence! “Vote for OK” was his campaign slogan.

Despite losing the 1840 election, Oklahoma grew in popularity and expanded globally.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, acceptable spelling changed over several decades.

Now below we will answer the question, is it okay or ok?

Is it always okay to use OK?

Some writing styles prefer one over the other.  

For example, the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) does not specify between okay vs Ok which term it prefers. However, they write with OK.

CMOS responds to a question on their website by saying that okay “is an equal variant (also standard).” Conversely, the Associated Press Stylebook requires OK, even in words like OK’ing.

See also: “Capitol” vs “Capital”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

Is one form more formal than the other?

No, they are the same.

However, you may decide they are both informal if you’re writing a formal piece.  If that’s the case, opt for a more formal synonym.

OK can be a noun, verb, adverb, or adjective.

See some examples:

  • I’ll be ok
  • OK…I am coming
  • “OK. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. It’s only a VISA bill. It’s a piece of paper; a few numbers. I mean, just how scary can a few numbers be?”―Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic

Does Okay and OK mean the same thing

Yes, Okay and OK are two spellings of the same word.

If you are writing a formal piece, follow the requirements of your style guide.

There’s no difference between OK and okay.

The older version, OK, is possibly derived from an abbreviation for an intentional misspelling of “all correct.” The terms are both standard English.

See also: “Sew” vs “Sow”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

Examples of using ok or okay in sentences

There are many ways to use ok or okay in a sentence; here are some of them

  • I’m ok.
  • I’m not ok.
  • Are you okay?
  • This crocker was only ok.
  • Okay, I will come early.
  • He did an ok job.
  • The restaurant around my house is okay.

From these examples, you can see the spellings do not change the meaning of the sentences. So, choose the one that works best for you.


‘OK’ has been around for a long time. Okay has also been around for some time.  

The spellings do not matter. Use the one you prefer. Some authors assert that okay is for formal purposes but grammar rules and styles do not endorse that. It states that OK vs okay can be used interchangeably.

OK! What are you waiting for? You have a sentence to complete!


Grammarly – ok or okay