The number zero pronounced as "oh"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Evelio Figueroa, Sep 21, 2002.

  1. Evelio Figueroa

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    When people give out phone numbers, radio stations, highway numbers, ETC. I hear the number zero as "oh." How did this get started? Is it because of the "O" in O-clock? I can't find any info on this.
     
  2. Charles J P

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    Its because it looks like an "o", and o is one less syllable than zero. No big mystery.
     
  3. Chuck C

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    OHHH i get it now [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    You "ought" to get it.....[​IMG]
     
  5. Jeff Rogers

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    O R theyyyyy
     
  6. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I know the "o" in o-clock means of as in It's three of the clock.
     
  7. Chris Derby

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    would you prefer "zed" or "nought"?
     
  8. JasonMC

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    This drives me crazy!!! It's pretty sad when we are so lazy that we don't want to say a two syllable word!! There are no letters in phone NUMBERS!! Next, are we going to say "S" instead of "5" since "S" is easier to say!!!
     
  9. Scott "E"

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  10. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    It's not laziness, it's time saving.

    If you're trying to make sure someone gets a set of numbers correctly, like an account number over the phone, you should probably say "zero," but if you're just giving your phone number to a friend in person, saying "oh" is fine. That's how I see it.
     
  11. andrew markworthy

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    Pedantically, you should say 'zero' if you mean a number. However, 'zero' or 'nought' both take longer to say, and if you're trying to memorise a series of numbers, the longer it takes you to say the numbers, the lower the chance of remembering them. Therefore, 'oh' is generally pragmatically preferable.

    Trivia: it takes longer to pronounce the names of numbers in Welsh than in English. Hence, the digit span (i.e. the max. number of digits you can reliably remember) is shorter for Welsh- than for English-speakers. The reason is due to the process of memorising short term verbal information, called the phonological loop.. (cont. Psychology 101).
     
  12. LewB

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    I work in computer manufacturing. We track the serial numbers of parts that go into the machines. I won't bore you with the ugly details of what happens when a 'O' is used in place of a '0' and vice versa. I've seen instances where 3 people have tried fixing a problem related to a swap like that. It's not an easy thing to see, especially on a CRT where there is no dot in the middle of the zero. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Needless to say I specifically say 'zero' when I'm referring to a number and 'oh' when referring to the letter 'O'. Problem is that when I say 'oh', people still use the number '0'.
     
  13. Jeffrey Noel

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  14. MarcVH

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    ...which is, of course, nearly always pronounced "one oh one."

    If the context makes it obvious that what is being said is numeric, I don't have a problem with "oh" for zero. If it's a context where there might be ambiguity (e.g. a serial number) then I'll say "zero" or "letter oh" to be explicit. I still say anybody who intermixes zero and oh in something like a serial number probably could use some education in human factors.

    I suppose one might as well complain about the fact that people say "nine" instead of "niner," and identify letters by saying "bee vee eff" instead of "bravo victor foxtrot."
     
  15. MikeH1

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    I have two zeros in my address (10045) and I made the mistake once of telling somebody one oh oh four five. When said fast it sounds like one oh and the people end up on the other end of town looking for the apartment. For that reason alone I say zero zero. But I must say its a pain in the ass when all I have to say is oh.
     
  16. Matt Birchall

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    When I'm watching a baseball game on TV, and I hear the announcer say that the count is "nothing and two" or "three and nothing" on the batter, it irritates me to no end. Sure, it might be "correct", but "oh and two" or "three and oh" is much more pleasing to my ear. I know what he's referring to. Usually, I'm a stickler when it comes to things like this, but this doesn't bother me.
     
  17. Dominik Droscher

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    Why don't you just say "nil"?
     
  18. TheoGB

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  19. Kevin P

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    "Oh" seems to be used for "zero" pretty much exclusively in phone numbers, or when pronouncing a three-digit number with a zero in the middle; e.g. 101 is easier to say "one oh one" than "one zero one" or "one hundred one".
    Anyone here watch ZOOM on PBS back in the 70s? They always recited their address as "Zoom, zee double-O em box three five oh Boston Mass Oh-two-one-three-four..." Funny that I remember that after 25-30 years because of the way they recited it. If they said "zero" I probably wouldn't know it by heart now. [​IMG]
    KJP
     
  20. Ryan Wright

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