US pronunciation


In designations like “MK248 Mod 0” how would you pronounce the “0”? As “nought”, “zero” or “oh”?

Before you ask, there are no rules about this in British English…


Both “oh” and “zero” would be common here, but you would almost never hear the “nought”.


The U.S. Navy pronunciation is Mark two forty eight, Mod zero. We were reamed the first day in boot camp about using ‘zero’ instead of ‘oh’. Tony, I am surprised! I would have thought that the Queen’s English would be much stricter than our version. Cheers!


What Roundsworth said. A Gunners Mate striker saying “oh” instead of “Zero” would have been told that his primary duty from then on would be in charge of hash mark repairs.


Ok, let me rephrase…Outside of the Navy, it would be common for normal, human Americans to say “oh” or “zero” ;)



Outside of the USN, why would a normal human American have a need to say MK248 Mod 0. ;) ;)


Now THAT’S funny.


Proper US English would call it “zero” rather than “oh.” “Oh” would refer to the letter, “o.”

I personally get annoyed when people call “0s” “ohs” rather than “zeros.”

Also, completely unrelated, mostly, is the US dialect survey that the University of Wisconsin did which talks about the different US dialects in pronunciation and terms for things. I spent a couple hours reading all of them.


What about the three-oh-three? Probably the classic example of British mispronunciation.


How about the .30-06 Springfield. (Thirty-ought six). No one I know says Thirty-zero six.


Thanks for the discussion, gentlemen, very illuminating: Mod zero it is, then!

British English is far from precise, it’s the biggest rag-bag of irregular spellings, grammar and pronunciations around, and I feel deeply sorry for foreigners who have to learn it as a second language. It keeps evolving, too, especially the accents; when I listen to news reports from the 1960s I am amazed at how old-fashioned the announcers sound now. American English is probably closer than British English to the way the language was spoken in the 17th century, say.

“Zero” is actually the least common usage in normal speech in the UK, it tends to be reserved for technical/mathematical use. “Nought” isn’t that common either. “Ought” is never used to mean zero, it is only used as in “you ought to do that”.

“Oh” is the most common pronunciation by far: not just “three-oh-three” as already mentioned, but “thirty-oh-six” too; and my telephone number starts “oh-one-six”. The only problem is it can get confused with the letter “o” if you get a string of numbers and letters together - that would be one instance when people would say “nought” or “zero” instead.

Edit to add: “Mod 0” would probably be pronounced “Mod nought” by most Brits.


Aaron, that link is very enlightening. Thank you:-)


Ron, I spend a lot of time on the range and at gun shows, and in the thousands of times I’ve heard “.30-06” possibly three 95 year-old guys have called it “Ought-six”. It may be a regional thing, but I’ve got to believe that the vastly more popular pronunciation of .30-06 would include “Oh-six”.


Jon: I’m a few decades short of 95 and I call it ought-six. As far as the “oh” versus “zero” business is concerned until quite recently most folks (at least around these parts) said “oh,” wrong tho it may be. It’s also one syllable versus two. Jack


JohnnyC–I’m not 95, but am getting to be an old geezer at 65. I grew up in Northern Michigan. Every deer hunter I ever knew and all the gun shops I ever visited always said “Thirty-ought six” The only time I ever heard it any other way was by non-hunter and non-gun types. My Father was in WW-II and he always used a “Thirty-ought-six” caliber rifle. I guess the usage must be regional, but at least here in Michigan it is always "Thirty-ought-six. As I was typing this, I got a call from Tom Grahm. He lives in the state of Washington. I asked him how he pronounces it. He agreed with me and said it is the only way he has ever heard it said in the Northwest US. So, I am beginning to think that my pronunciation is more than just Michigan regional. I used to buy a lot of .30-06 from Gerry Marcello before he died. For those who did not know him, he was the author of the book “.30-06 We Have Seen”. His collection formed the basis of the information for Chis Punnett’s “.30-06” book. I don’t recall Gerry ever saying the cartridge name any way except how I say say it. I wonder how Chris Punnett says it? I’m beginning to think the real regional pronunciation is “Thirty-oh-six”


Maybe! I’ll ask Chris, although as a Brit/Yank/Canuk, his opinion might be a bit skewed.


Don’t ask him, he will only tell you it’s a four five oh!



Hah, that’s just what he said!!!


Thats a real funny and interesting thread.
For me as a german it is often hard to learn how to speak words correct.
Iam allways surprised by some names or technical terms - like "spigot"
I ask myself for a long time how it would sound - and then I see a british weapon film - amazing sound :-).
Ok I can lean back - the native doesnt know it 100 % , too. Zero is of course the hommage to the brilliant japanese fighter plane - isnt it ??? :-).

Often I simply resignate - calling a M 2 .50 machine gun a " Ma Deuce "
I wonder a long time what the hell he was talking about in the report :-).

BTW somebody here has an idea about how to say " Schermuly " ???
Must be - skermuly … or skermulei … or ???


Another one I have notices is, here in England we say “Two two rimfire”. In the USA I have always heard it as “Twenty two”.

There is also no logical pattern in how the pistol calibres are pnonounced. We say “Thirty two” and not “Three two”. “Three eighty” and “Four fifty” are the same as in the USA. However, for other ones I have always heard them as “Four four two”, “four five five” “four seven six” etc.

Again, we say for example “three seven five Holland & Holland”, but it would be, for example “Three sixty rook rifle” for other calibres.

The amount of variation in regional accent in the UK is also surprising for a small country. I once saw a tour guide for the UK written for Americans. Is said “If travelling around the UK you will hear many regional accents. Do not try and copy any of these when talking to people, as the English will think you are mocking them and possibly become offended”.