The BLC Blog

A forum and learning place for British Language Centre students

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Number 0

The number '0' in English has quite a few different names depending on the context in which it is being used. Let's look at the different names it has.
The general term in British English for '0' is nought (pronounced nort). When we are saying decimals such as 0.9 or 0.05 we say 'nought point nine' and 'nought point nought five'.

The general term in American English is zero. This is also used in British English to talk about temperature. We say for example, 'temperatures are below zero.' In American English it is also used to refer to football scores.
In British English a football (soccer) score of '0' is referred to as a score of 'nil'. For example. 1-0 is 'one-nil'. In tennis however, as you may have noticed if you have been watching Wimbledon this week, a score of '0' is referred to as 'love.'
Finally, in telephone numbers and account numbers and other similar numbers the '0' is pronounced 'oh'. For example, 0971 603044 would be oh nine seven one, six oh, three oh, double four.'
So now you know how to say '0' in different situations!

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