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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 89
    #1

    nil/zero?

    I can't find the rule on the internet so I'll ask here. Why do we have to use "nil" when we talk about scores in sports? Can't we just say that a hockey team won, for instance, by three goals to zero? We use "zero" when talking about game scores in Romanian so that's why it seems strange to me.

    "Zero" does not seem to sound as well as "nil" when we talk about scores, but still... why this rule? Also, are there any other situations where I have to compulsorily use "nil" instead of "zero"?

    Thank you in advance for your time.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: nil/zero?

    It is not compulsory, but habitual. It is the term that is generally used to express that a team has not scored. Nothing is stopping you using "zero".

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #3

    Re: nil/zero?

    In case you care about how it's said in the US, we tend to say "oh" (for zero).

    They won, three-oh.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia

    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 2,130
    #4

    Re: nil/zero?

    Nil and zero are both fine. People say nil because it is shorter perhaps.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 89
    #5

    Re: nil/zero?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    It is not compulsory, but habitual. It is the term that is generally used to express that a team has not scored. Nothing is stopping you using "zero".
    That's funny, because the English teacher from our school said that using "zero" when talking about scores is incorrect. Thank you all for the quick replies.

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