Publication details [#13718]

McGregor, William. 2003. The nothing that is, the zero that isn't. Studia Linguistica 57 (2) : 75–119. 45 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Blackwell Publishing Ltd


The paper aims to explore the notion of ‘zero’ in linguistics and argues that such a mathematical metaphor is misleading and hazardous. Firstly, it posits the presence of certain grammatical elements even in the absence of manifest evidence. Secondly, on some occurrences, traditional ‘zeros’ of grammatical forms should rather be considered ‘nothings’. Therefore, a reappraisal of the notion of ‘zero’ in linguistics is advocated.