August 24, 2004


OK. Such a simple word at first glance. Ok. It really doesn't look like it could hurt or cause confusion. Unfortunately I've discovered that it most certainly can. When wielded by someone with a less than above average grasp of the english language, or by someone who falls squarely into the pedant category (yes James Hickie that means you) the word "ok" can be used destructively.

I think a foreigner could be forgiven if they defaulted to using "ok" as a standard response as it does, after all, have an international nature to it. However, it is unlikely to lead to much chaos and destruction since you'd often ensure a foreigner has understood your question.

In the hands of a pedant though the word "ok" is a very powerful tool. Nay, a very powerful weapon. Pound for pound, megaton for megaton the amount of emotional wreckage it can inflict is comparable to a very large paper bomb used behind someone of a nervous disposition. Put simply, this sucker can cause at least some mild discomfort.

As an example, when asked "Lunch tomorrow at 1 O'Clock?", one might expect the answer of "Ok" to mean "Yes. I can make lunch tomorrow at 1 O'Clock. I look forward to dining with you" but when engaging a pedant in verbal warfare this assumption would be a most school boy battlefield error.

The response in this and, as I've subsequently discovered, many other situations is in fact shorthand for "Ok. I acknowledge and understand your question, but I do not commit to an answer either way". Obviously.

Perhaps all pedants should be made to wear a sign. It would have the huge benefit of giving the unsuspecting conversationalist a fighting chance against the inevitable barage.

Posted by Andy at 03:05 PM into The Rest | TrackBack



Any preference regarding the sign's semantic content?
How about: "Conversations available within. The Illiterati and Cerebrally defunt need not apply".


Posted by James Hickie at 2004-08-24 18:54:43
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