O vs. Oh – Usage, Meaning & Examples

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Grammarist

Wait, are “O” and “oh” even proper terms to be used in English? They sure are! But what do they mean, and when should you use them? Good question! I’ll explain all you need to know about the exclamation and interjection right here in this handy dandy guide.

O vs. Oh: What’s the Difference?

O vs. Oh Usage Meaning Examples

Not sure when to use O and oh when writing? They sound the same, so you only have to worry about the correct spelling and usage in writing. The difference in one letter creates two completely different words.

What Does Oh Mean?

Let’s start with the more common of the two, “Oh.” It’s an interjection we use to express a bunch of different emotions, like a sense of surprise, excitement, or even disappointment.

You could say, “I can’t believe I won,” but you could also say, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I won!” Adding the extra expression with the word “oh” just elevates the whole statement and delivers more emotion.

What Part of Speech Is Oh?

In English, “oh” is classified as an interjection, which basically means it’s a word used to express strong emotions or feelings. Words like ah, ahh, yikes, oops, and phew are also interjections to give you a better idea.

How Do You Spell Oh Correctly?

You should always spell “oh” with an “o” and an “h” – not to be confused with the letter “o” by itself, which we will discuss next.

Is Oh Grammatically Correct?

Absolutely! You might see the single letter O used as an interjection to show surprise or disappointment, but just know it’s incorrect. It needs to be spelled o-h to be grammatically correct.

What Is the Use of O in Poetry?

When it comes to poetry, you’ll see “O” used at the beginning of a line to show a direct address to a person, object, or idea. It’s what we call a poetic apostrophe. In John Keats’ famous poem “Ode to a Nightingale,” the first line of the second verse reads, “O, for a draught of vintage!”

How Is Oh Used in a Sentence?

You can always use it in a sentence to show surprise or disappointment, but just remember to follow it with a comma.

  • You’re coming to visit? Oh, I can’t wait to see you!
  • Your dog died? Oh, that’s so sad!
  • Oh, no. That won’t do; we need to change that.

How Is O Used in Sentences?

O vs. Oh Usage Meaning Examples 1

You don’t often see the use of “O” in everyday sentences. It’s mostly used in poetry or national anthems.

  • The first line of the Canadian anthem is, “O, Canada, our home and native land.”
  • I love the festive song that goes, “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree.”

Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. [The Odyssey]

What Can I Say Instead of Oh?

  • Wow
  • Yikes
  • Oops
  • Ugh

O, the Word Oh

So, after reading my handy guide, you can clearly see that you might never have a use for the exclamation O unless you’re writing poetry or something about a national anthem. The interjection “oh” is used pretty much every day, sometimes without even realizing it, but now you have a much better understanding of how to spell each one.