Burning Questions: Phone number language - is the '0' said as 'oh' or 'zero'?

How should 0 in a phone number be said - oh or zero?

How should 0 in a phone number be said - oh or zero?

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , web manager

When you’re giving out your phone number or reading a number back to someone how do you say the noughts – are they ‘ohs’ or ‘zeros’?

If you were saying, for example, the police non-emergency number 101 out loud would you pronounce it as one oh one or one zero one?

Also, what’s your style for saying consecutive digits in a phone number? Take the emergency services number 999, for instance. Most people say this as nine nine nine, but what about if the three nines are part of a longer number – do you then say 999 as nine nine nine still, nine double nine, double nine nine or triple nine?

How do you organise the digits when giving out a phone number? Do you read them all individually, so oh ... two ... oh ... eight, or do you put them together in pairs, so oh two ... oh eight, or do you do them as threes, so oh two oh ... eight five nine etc?

Finally, does it ever make you cringe when someone gives out a phone number in the ‘wrong’ way?

Add your phone number preferences and bugbears below?

This Is Local London: Burning Questions

The Burning Questions feature aims to resolve some of the oddities of social etiquette, settle some of life’s perennial arguments and crack some of those tricky questions with readers’ collective knowledge.

If there is an issue you’re always squabbling about with workmates or friends or something that makes you go hmmm, email me with your suggestions for future burning questions to ask.

Comments (2)

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6:52am Tue 11 Mar 14

bexley-is-bonkers says...

GPO Telephones, where I worked from 1962, had rules on this and drummed them into us. I still cringe at anything else. It's oh, it's nine double nine and it's never triple anything. I ignore advertisers who prefix their number with 'code' 0208. There is no such code. Fussy eh?
GPO Telephones, where I worked from 1962, had rules on this and drummed them into us. I still cringe at anything else. It's oh, it's nine double nine and it's never triple anything. I ignore advertisers who prefix their number with 'code' 0208. There is no such code. Fussy eh? bexley-is-bonkers
  • Score: 7

10:49pm Mon 17 Mar 14

mouthalmighty says...

Oh for me too. Zero takes too long to say.
Oh for me too. Zero takes too long to say. mouthalmighty
  • Score: 0

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