Is it OK to Pronounce Zero as O?

Have you ever been criticized for pronouncing zero as "o"? Find out when it's OK and when it's not.

Mignon Fogarty

pronounce zero as o

Sometimes people think that it’s wrong to pronounce zero as “oh,” but it’s actually OK in certain contexts. 

For example, it’s fine—even normal—to say “oh” when you’re reading a series of numbers such as 

  • A zip code (90210)
  • A room number (room 404)
  • A phone number (555-206-1234)
  • A credit card number (1024 5026 9046 8065)

Of course, we can’t forget agent designations: James Bond (Agent 007).

You pronounce it “zero” when you are talking about math or science. For example, you would say “five minus zero equals five” or that the temperature is “below zero.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.