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The number zero (0) means ‘nothing’. This has resulted in people not using or needing zero for a long time. For example an early herdsman who wanted to know how many sheep he had will do some counting. He did not need to do any counting if he had no sheep.

On the other hand, zero is of significance when it comes to the use of numbers. This is due to the fact that it is a placeholder in the place value system. Zero has been called a natural number and has a special role in the measuring of physical quantities.

Zero has value and it is even more significant when it stands(on the right) with another digit. It helps other digits to increase in value when written next to them. For example, the number 1, represents just a single thing or object. But if it is joined by 0 on its right (becoming 1 and 0), it increases its value and becomes a ten; meaning ten ones or a single object has increased by ten times.

With zero, we can tell the difference between a number with 0 and a number without. For example, we can understand the difference between the numbers 5 and 50 or between 25 and 205.

Zero is a unique number and the following shows how it works in calculation:

  • If we add 0 to any number, the sum is the original number (the same is true for subtraction);

  • If you multiply any number by 0, the product still zero. This implies that if you divide 0 by any non-zero number the quotient is again zero;

  • If you raise a non-zero number to the power of 0, the resulting number is 1;

  • Any number divided by 0 is undefined because no number times zero will give you a non-zero number.

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