This is the final post in this month’s Rogue Words series. I’ve had a lot of fun doing these, and I’m sorry to see them go. In fact, I’m thinking about making them a regular feature of my blog. If you have an opinion on whether you’d like me to round up more rogue words in the future, please feel free to leave a comment!
And now, on to today’s word…the deceptively simple-looking zero.
Zero can be used as an adjective, a verb, or a noun.
Zero As an Adjective
When zero is used as an adjective (which is rare), the noun it describes must be plural (or be a non-countable noun, like awareness).
Zachary charged through the door of Professor Z’s office, dragging a girl with him. “Something’s really wrong with Zoe, Professor! I had zero ideas about what to do, so I brought her to you. Can you help?”
Zoe stood where Zachary had left her, in front of Professor Z’s desk. Her hair was scraggly and her face had a grey tinge. She stared at the Professor blankly. It was clear that she had zero awareness of what was going on.
Zero As a Verb
When zero is used as a verb, you sometimes (but not always) need to add an e. Forms of the verb zero include zero, zeroes, zeroed, and zeroing.
“Hmmm,” said Professor Z in her reassuring way. She walked around Zoe, studying her from all angles. Zoe didn’t react at all, even when the Professor poked her in the arm.
“I said to myself, Professor Z is someone who always zeroes in on the problem,” said Zachary. He bounced from foot to foot. “I’ve been thinking…do you think Zoe’s turning into a zombie? That would be so zany, but I’m not sure what else to think!”
“Do you see this?” the Professor asked Zachary. She pointed at Zoe’s watch. Zachary bent to look.
Zero As a Noun
When zero is used a third-person verb, you write it as zeroes. But when zero is used as a plural noun, you don’t use an e: it’s spelled zeros.
The watch was set on a timer, and it was counting down to zero. Only five seconds to go…
“Oh no! In five…no, four seconds, she’s going to turn into a zombie! I knew it!”
“I don’t think so,” said Professor Z.
The time counted down until there were only zeros: 00:00:00. The watch started beeping.
Zoe stirred and blinked. “It’s done? I’m all finished?”
“Yes, dear,” said the Professor gently. You can go to bed now.” Zoe shuffled out of the room.
Zachary stared after her. “What was that about?”
“Just as I suspected,” said the Professor. “It’s now May first. The A to Z Blogging Challenge is over, and Zoe can finally get some sleep.”
Congratulations to everyone who made it through the A to Z Challenge! Thanks so much for reading, liking, and commenting on my posts. 🙂
For those who are new to my blog, I hope you will continue to visit after A to Z. I will be posting my A to Z Reflections post next Monday, and then will go back to my usual weekly posting schedule. I post a mix of creative writing and grammar tips, interviews with others about communication (Conversation Corner), and in-depth reviews of writing resources (DBW Reviews).
See you on the other side! Off now to get some sleep…
© Sue Archer and Doorway Between Worlds, 2015