Unit 12.2

Uses of the Number Zero


The number zero requires different names depending on the context in which we use it.


The different names of the number zero for different areas of use are:

  1. love;
  2. nil;
  3. nought or zero;
  4. oh or zero;
  5. zero.


  1. Love for tennis (and some other similar sports)
    • She won the game fourteen-love.
  2. Nil for team game scores
    • Manchester United won three-nil.
  3. Nought/zero for decimals (British English)
    • 0.5zero point five / nought point five.
  4. Oh or zero for numerical list
    • My phone number is: six-seven-four-five-two-oh-one-oh-four (674 520 104).
  5. Zero for decimals (American English)
    • 0.5zero point five.


Zero is a cardinal number used like other numbers, but it can require different names, depending on the context.

You can use it for:

  1. tennis (and some other similar sports): love;
  2. team games scores: nil;
  3. decimals (British English): nought or zero;
  4. numerical list: oh or zero;
  5. decimals (American English): zero.


The number zero requires different names such as love (when talking about tennis and other similar sports), nil (for team games scores), nought (for British English decimals), oh (for numerical list) and zero (for American English decimals), depending on the context you need to use it.

For example:
“Real Madrid won two-nil.” = For team game scores, we use nil.
“Her door number is zero-two-six.” = For numerical lists, we can use oh or zero.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.


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