# When you give a number, what do you say?

## Do you say 'o' or 'zero'?

• ### zero

• Total voters
25
I was wondering how common this:

If you give a number, such as credit card or phone number, do find you say 'o' instead of zero? I find that I say 'o'.

I got this guy I know in Texas to do my cellphone voice message (people who hear it probably think that is me and I'm American and living in New Zealand); he said zero.

Evo
Mentor
Zero is correct for a number. If the number used both alpha and numeric values (some accounts do that, although not credit cards) it would cause the wrong values to be taken.

dlgoff
Zero is correct for a number.
Yes -- definitely. However, for some reason I say 'o'.

russ_watters
Mentor
"O" is basically slang. I would expect most scientists, engineers and military would say zero (oddly, except when telling time).

dlgoff
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
I use both depending on the situation and the numbers around the zero. For example, I usually say 820 as eight-two-zero, but 502 as five-oh-two. It's much easier to say "zero" right after "two" than it is after "five" because the positioning of my mouth and tongue after "five" makes it take take more time and effort. If I'm wanting to be clear, I'll slow down and say "zero" in both cases.

Borg
256bits
Gold Member
Agent Double Zero Seven!! Hmmm

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Agent Double Zero Seven!! Hmmm

Evo
Mentor
"O" is basically slang. I would expect most scientists, engineers and military would say zero (oddly, except when telling time).
Yeah, that's odd I'd also say 10:02 as 10 O 2, but I assume that comes from the "of the clock" beginnings. you would say it's "ten of the clock", shortened to ten O' clock.

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Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Yeah, that's odd I'd also say 10:02 as 10 O 2, but I assume that comes from the "of the clock" beginnings. you would say it's "ten of the clock", shortened to ten O' clock.

Lies! Lies spread by the administration to suppress the truth! The truth that it's really "on the clock"!

(I really have no idea, I'm just tired)

Evo
Borek
Mentor
Agent Double Zero Seven!! Hmmm

Actually in Polish we say "agent zero zero siedem".

But in general we never say "O" for a zero.

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
This is probably a regionalism somewhat as it's very common for people to say "o" in the UK.

lisab
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Yeah, that's odd I'd also say 10:02 as 10 O 2, but I assume that comes from the "of the clock" beginnings. you would say it's "ten of the clock", shortened to ten O' clock.

I think telling time is the only time I use "O" instead of zero. In that context, it's not ambiguous.

Lisa!
Gold Member
I'll say "O" from now on since it sounds better than zero!

WWGD
Gold Member
Actually in Polish we say "agent zero zero siedem".

But in general we never say "O" for a zero.
Polish predisposition/bias against using vowels?

DrGreg
Gold Member
In the UK I would say
• 0 within a string of digits, usually pronounced "o", sometimes "zero"
• 0 on its own, usually "zero", never "o", except...
• subscript, as in $x_0$, usually "nought" (= "naught")
• ...except $\aleph_0$ is "aleph null" for some reason
• in football (soccer), 0 is "nil"
• in tennis, 0 is "love"
• in cricket, 0 is "a duck"
(And, of course, computer programmers may pronounce 0 as Ø, when they aren't celebrating Christmas at Halloween.)

Depends on the situation. In the Canadian military we said '0' when reading coordinates.

By the way it's zed eee ar o.......not zee eee ar o

nuuskur and epenguin
epenguin
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Depends on the situation. In the Canadian military we said '0' when reading coordinates.
I had the Impression that the use of 'oh' originated in the military, civilians used to say 'naught'. ?

Edit: naught? nought?

In the UK I would say
• 0 within a string of digits, usually pronounced "o",
I say that too - in the UK.
Except when trying to converse with an Indian call centre. (Do you have those in the U.S. or Canada? - if you do you will know why I then say zero. )

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SteamKing
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
I had the Impression that the use of 'oh' originated in the military, civilians used to say 'naught'. ?

Only if they were Old Timers, or Down Easters from Maine or someplace like that.

I say that too - in the UK.
Except when trying to converse with an Indian call centre. (Do you have those in the U.S. or Canada? - if you do you will know why I then say zero. )

Our Indian call centers in the States are in India, where they belong.

epenguin
I think telling time is the only time I use "O" instead of zero. In that context, it's not ambiguous.

How do you say highway 101? (you live in California, right?) Never heard anyone saying "one hundred and one" or "one zero one".

epenguin
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Only if they were Old Timers, or Down Easters from Maine or someplace like that.

Our Indian call centers in the States are in India, where they belong.

But in the Old Times everybody was an Old Timer.
Our Indian call centres in the UK are in India too but we have them in the UK, on the phone.

Evo
Mentor
How do you say highway 101? (you live in California, right?) Never heard anyone saying "one hundred and one" or "one zero one".
Ah, that's a good one. Odd that sometimes it's acceptable to use the letter O to mean the number zero.

Ah, that's a good one. Odd that sometimes it's acceptable to use the letter O to mean the number zero.
I live in area code "801" and "385", with 10 digit dialing. Of course with a phone number, it is a number, but eight-oh-one is what I say, and what everyone says.

Likewise, Zip-codes. I'm in eight-four-one-oh-three. Someone might be in nine-oh-two-one-oh (Beverly Hills 90210).

I think for clarity, I say "Zero". But if the context is clear, and certainly, with 10-digit dialing, it is 10 numbers ... I use "oh". My cell phone has two zeroes in a row, and I always say "zero zero four two" (numbers changed for paranoia). "Oh, Oh" would be less clear.

Evo
collinsmark
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Presently I say almost exclusively "zero," except for special exceptions like 007 or Highway 101.

But I grew up saying "o". I had to put some effort during my adolescence to ween myself off of saying "o" when I really meant zero.

My mom still says "o" and when I repeat a number back to her replacing the "o"s with "zero"s she gets confused.

I got this guy I know in Texas to do my cellphone voice message (people who hear it probably think that is me and I'm American and living in New Zealand); he said zero.

I live in area code "801" and "385", with 10 digit dialing. Of course with a phone number, it is a number, but eight-oh-one is what I say, and what everyone says.

It's ironic that phone numbers are brought up in this conversation, because that was my original, primary motivation for changing from "o" to "zero": In terms of phone numbers specifically, "o" is 6, not zero (look at your phone).