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OAPs, old age pensioners
do not use: they are pensioners or old people; do not use elderly to describe someone under 70

'mentally slow or emotionally insensitive' (Collins); often confused with abstruse (hard to understand) or obscure

oceans, seas
uc, eg Atlantic Ocean, Red Sea

Long odds (eg 100-1 against) mean something unlikely; shorter odds (eg 10-1) still mean it's unlikely, but less unlikely; odds on (eg 2-1 on) means it is likely, so if you were betting £2 you would win only £1 plus the stake

offhand, off-licence, offside

not O!

is OK; 'okay' is not

Old Testament


prefer continuous or continual


over or more than?
Over and under answer the question 'how much?';
more than and fewer than answer the question 'how many?': she is over 18, there were more than 20,000 people at the game, etc

overestimate, overstate
take care that you don't mean underestimate or understate (we often get this wrong)


Oxford comma
a comma before the final 'and' in lists: straightforward ones (he ate ham, eggs and chips) do not need one, but sometimes it can help the reader (he ate cereal, kippers, bacon, eggs, toast and marmalade, and tea), and sometimes it is essential: compare
I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis, and JK Rowling
I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis and JK Rowling


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