Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 21:20:16 EST From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: Zero or "o"? Marla writes: >Also, 'operator' might be considered as a reason for saying 'oh' in a >phone number. Looking at the key pad, however, it does appear that there is >a digit zero. I feel as if I'm being a bit relaxed when I say 'oh' and a bit >to 'formal' or overly correct when I say zero, but, ok, more precise too. >With all sorts of new computer/email codes and addresses it will probably >become more important to make sure these two symbols are accurately comm >communicated. Marla Of course the Operator position was originally keyed to O because the latter was referred to as "oh", or so I assume. Anyway, the one position we NEVER get 'zero' is in referring to years like 1903--yet there's no possibility of analyzing that as '19-operator-3'. I have a feeling the full range of labels is complicated and pretty interesting. In sports scores, for instance, the losing score is "nothing" (never "oh" and rarely "zero") if it's baseball or football, "nil" if it's soccer, and "love" if it's tennis. Otherwise, 0 is usually "oh" for reasons of least effort in house addresses, dates, etc., but as Marla points out this may change in computer addresses, as it already has to some extent in other contexts where the value of a particular alphanumeric symbol is otherwise unrecoverable (as between letter "O" and number "0") and where the distinction matters--license plates, vehicle IDs,... --Larry