zero = O / 0 (pronunciation)

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by NYCguy43, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. NYCguy43

    NYCguy43 New Member


    Sometimes I've noticed that in a English conversation someone say something like, "Hey my phone number is 3533O4" they use the letter O instead the number 0 (zero) so when I have to use the O instead 0? in telephone conversations or when I give a number? is this a must?

  2. donbeto

    donbeto Senior Member

    Vancouver (Canada)
    Eng (Canada)
    Hola y bienvenido al foro.

    You will be understood whether you say O or 0.
  3. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    Welcome, NYCguy43! :)
    It's very common to say "Oh", instead of "zero", but, as donbeto says, "zero" is perfectly clear.
    Multidigit numbers are usually spoken digit by digit, eg., room three oh four (304), Levi's five oh one (501) jeans, etc.
  4. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    We often say 'O' when there is a string of digits to be written down or memorized.

    When we are describing a mathematical expression we use zero because we don't want any ambiguity.


    0% ---> zero percent

    Do not divide by zero

    X + 2 = 0 ---> X plus 2 equals zero
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  5. NYCguy43

    NYCguy43 New Member

    ok I think i get it, thanks you all!:)

    P.S.: donbeto thanks for the welcome to the forum!:p
  6. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    Use either one in a telephone number.
    In a hotel room number or a house number, I think you will find the letter O spoken much more than "zero". "Room three-oh-four."
    "Oh" is also frequent in years like 1902 (nineteen-oh-two), 1807 (but not 2005—"two thousand [and] five").
  7. stopgap New Member

    english - American
    Would you really want to dial the O (letter) instead of 0 (number) if that is what someone said?
  8. Amapolas

    Amapolas Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Castellano rioplatense
    If they give me the number 123O54, I know it's a zero I've got to dial. However, if they gave me 123-FORK, I know it's a 6.
  9. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    We used to have phone numbers like MO 4-7151 ("eme o cuatro setenta y uno, cincuenta y uno", I think that was the phone number for radio station XETA), and we knew that the first two "digits" were letters (MO = 66). Nowadays, everything has been converted to pure numbers, so "oh" only means "zero"— except when it is meant to spell something as Amapolas has pointed out.

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