#372… sci., relig., ETC.: “One-Letter Words–All 5 of Them”


It’s about






and 4 others…


(Seeking some more?

     O please use our DOOR.)




   First, recognize that any letter can be used as a noun or an adjective:  For example, “Fred received an F for poor work.” “On the exam C was a better choice than B.” “The road had a deadly S curve.” We’re not talking about things like that. We’re not including the use of letters as symbols or as unknowns in math.

   Noun plurals of letters such as “A” or “a” may be formed this way:  “As” or “A’s,” or as “as” or “a’s.” [We recommend the second way for obvious reasons. Just be consistent.] How to form the verb usages may be of special interest.

   So here goes:

A      An adjective.  We won’t waste time on that.

I       A pronoun.  We won’t waste time on that either.

O     An exclamation.  And a stylistic bugaboo¹.  [Often called a “vocative O.”] An archaic [but most appropriate] word used before a name in direct address, as in prayers and poetry such as give us peace in our time , O God. [However, if hitting your thumb with a hammer provokes an “Oh God,” then add an h. (See first sentence above. This is also taking God’s name in vain which we look upon with disfavor.) Will O evolve to oh, particularly after the erratic and wrongheaded usage that peppers Power-pointed gospel songs that have replaced hymns from books in so many churches (along with disappearing commas and apostrophes)? We hope not. “Oh Come All ye faithful” and “Oh Christmas Tree” are visual scratches on old chalkboards.]

E      a noun.  (pl. e’s) An e-mail system or a message or messages in such a system. Or, or verb. (e’s, e’ing, e’d) Sending a message by e-mail. [Note that the Oxford online dictionary, unlike some other dictionaries (like the Scrabble Dictionary), does not display “email” spelled that way–yet. But as with “base-ball” and “basket-ball,” a more proper “email” will soon become preferred.]

X      a noun.   An unspecified play of a card, other than an honor card, in bridge. Or a verb. (X’s, X’ing, X’d used with an object). To mark or make a sign with an X; to make void or annul; to invalidate.


   ¹ Following this Scrabble Bingo that could make your day, our comments will almost always be in brackets. The rest is from the online Oxford Dictionary. The assembled package is ours…

Author: John Knapp