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O Lord or Oh, Lord?

May 7, 2014

CommaWhen I was a college worship director for a couple of years, I put together and helped edit a lot of lyrics on PowerPoint. One recurring question I had was: Is it O Lord or Oh, Lord?

By default I found myself using the first, though I was never really sure why (I thought it looked better).

According to this articleO Lord is correct, when addressing a petition, prayer, or other saying to God.

One thing I’m still stuck on, though–if is proper for use with vocatives, why is there not also a comma after it?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. David Bradley permalink
    May 8, 2014 9:39 am

    Oh, Lord. Yes it most definitely should be “O Lord” for praise songs.


  2. May 8, 2014 4:17 pm

    The best way to think of it is that O is the case marker for the vocative and belongs with it as naturally as an inflected ending might in Greek or Latin, say. Therefore the separation implied by the comma is not warranted. Whereas with ‘Oh, Lord’ you have two different but related exclamations where you might have easily take breath between them.

    Hope that helps.

    • May 8, 2014 4:28 pm

      Ah, yes–that does help, immensely. Thank you, Doug! This site is drawing smarter and smarter readers all the time….

      • May 8, 2014 4:32 pm

        Glad to be of help, although you shouldn’t confuse a grammar nerd with a smarter user 🙂

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