While preparing dinner tonight, I was listening to the broadcast of the Pirates-Giants game on the radio. For much of the game, the score was 1-0, described as “one-nothing” by the play-by-play announcer.
The score led me to a thought I had not had before, namely, that the use of “nothing” in this context is odd. “Nothing” is usually an answer to the question “how much?” rather than “how many?” But runs in a baseball game come in discrete units. Were we to ask how many runs the Pirates had scored, “nothing” would be an odd answer.
In place of “nothing,” there are more logical alternatives: “zero,” “nil,” “oh,” “zip,” or “love.” Of course, the convention of using “nothing” is well-established. I wonder how this came to be.