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

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

4 vote(s)
16.0%

21 vote(s)
84.0%
1. Jul 7, 2015

### StevieTNZ

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.

2. Jul 7, 2015

### Staff: 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.

3. Jul 7, 2015

### StevieTNZ

Yes -- definitely. However, for some reason I say 'o'.

4. Jul 7, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

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

5. Jul 7, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

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.

6. Jul 7, 2015

### 256bits

Agent Double Zero Seven!! Hmmm

7. Jul 7, 2015

8. Jul 8, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

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.

Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
9. Jul 8, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

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)

10. Jul 8, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

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

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

11. Jul 8, 2015

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
12. Jul 8, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

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

13. Jul 8, 2015

### lisab

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

14. Jul 8, 2015

### Lisa!

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

15. Jul 8, 2015

### WWGD

Polish predisposition/bias against using vowels?

16. Jul 8, 2015

### DrGreg

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.)

17. Jul 8, 2015

### tom aaron

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

18. Jul 8, 2015

### epenguin

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

Edit: naught? nought?

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. )

Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
19. Jul 8, 2015

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
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.

20. Jul 8, 2015

### jobyts

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