When 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 article, O Lord is correct, when addressing a petition, prayer, or other saying to God.
One thing I’m still stuck on, though–if O is proper for use with vocatives, why is there not also a comma after it?
11 thoughts on “O Lord or Oh, Lord?”
Oh, Lord. Yes it most definitely should be “O Lord” for praise songs.
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.
Ah, yes–that does help, immensely. Thank you, Doug! This site is drawing smarter and smarter readers all the time….
Glad to be of help, although you shouldn’t confuse a grammar nerd with a smarter user 🙂
Thanks very much Doug that helps a lot
Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for!
O is another name for God. This is why there is no comma, and it’s not spelled “Oh”. It’s a name hidden in plain sight. O is named as such after the sound of the first breath. The O LORD is depicted in several mythologies and religious pantheons, usually hiding in within glyphs and paintings.
For example, the ancient pharaoh Akhenaten’s is represented by an “O” shaped hieroglyph. This glyph is often translated as a “Solar Disc” or “Sun God”, but this “O” simply represented the “Sound (or ‘name’) of God”. It’s also important to know that Atenism was one of the earliest documented historical religions to have a monotheist God.
Christians have a tendency to punctuate the end of their prayers with “Amen”. This term is used to reference ancient Egypt and the acknowledgement of Amen and Ra, who were deities seated within polytheist religion of Egypt (eventually became known as one god, “Amon Ra”).
An important consideration is that O LORD is usually depicted in all caps within the Christian and Catholic religions. Given that the Bible has been translated into hundreds of different languages, it has had plenty of opportunities to “correct” this, but it was never corrected. It was never corrected because it was never wrong to begin with.
The Christian God is the O LORD. The O represents everything in it’s entirety, and reflective that God is everything.
Yahweh is a phonic name which represents one of O’s many physical forms that were used to influence ancient religions.
>> It was never corrected because it was never wrong to begin with.
I appreciate your taking the time to comment.
The Hebrew Bible was written in Hebrew, and “O” or any equivalent thereof is not in the Hebrew.
I know I’m shooting from the hip here, but a suspect the word ‘O’, as in “O Lord” or “O God” is simply an old English contraction of the word ‘our’. And this signifying that He is possessively our Lord as a group, as well as possessively my Lord or my God, as an individual.
Just a feeling this is the case. I may look into it further.
You have put quite a bit of thought into this, but I think you’re using conjecture to assume a connection between Amon Ra and “amen”. It’s merely a concluding statement of mutual agreement on the words that precede it.
I think the Hebrew language n the Latin language always use those, the commer or the apostrophe has a great meaning, one commer or an apostrophe or a ? It changed the whole meaning of the sentence or a phrase