Why is zero plural

Commenting on the classification of ‘zero’ as a singular or plural form is probably something that you would not have been asked to do in either your Mathematics or English classes. It is a fairly confusing proposition anyways, but the plain fact is that the English convention of grammars treat zero as having plural properties, although the French choose to treat it as a singular entity.

Consider this statement – ‘I have absolutely zero doubts in my mind that it was she who did the act.’ Notice the way in which the plural form of the word ‘doubt’ follows the usage of ‘zero’ in the sentence. It is almost natural to do it this way. Something like – ‘I have absolutely zero doubt in my mind that it was she who did the act’ does not quite appeal to the sense of comfort that fills you up on having spoken or written a grammatically correct sentence. Although the grammar check feature of the almighty MS WORD does not differentiate between either of the usages, the fact remains that the former is the correct way of doing it.

There might very well be no logic behind this, although there have been suggestions to explain this rather peculiar part of English grammar. Most people would attribute this as another of the idiosyncrasies of grammar, but there is a class of experts that talks about the impression of a ‘zero’ being a negation of the possibility of there being ‘at least one.’ More clearly stated, the usage of ‘zero’ is thought of as a representation of the fact that the chance of there being even a single instance of the entity being talked about in the sentence (‘doubt’ in the above case). Hence, it is recommended to choose the opposite of what you would have done had there been a singular entity, that is, the plural entity. The person who might have spoken the above mentioned sentence did not have a single doubt, so it would not have been logically consistent to use a singular form in the sentence. Hence, the mention of ‘zero’ was followed by the plural usage of ‘doubts.’