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Shouldn't 'double zero' be 'double zeros'? For example, we say 'double doors,' not 'double door.'

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    Sometimes we do say 'double door', counting the pair as a single item.
    – Peter
    Jan 1, 2021 at 13:32
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    Does this answer your question? double zero, double zeros or double zeroes?
    – Void
    Jan 1, 2021 at 13:33
  • We always do this with individual characters. The name "Jeff" is spelled "jay, ee, double-eff". Jan 1, 2021 at 16:38
  • We sleep in a double bed (we sleep together). We sleep in double beds (we sleep in our own separate bedrooms, each of which has a double bed). Jan 1, 2021 at 18:05

1 Answer 1

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It isn't common to follow 'double' with a plural, especially not with numbers.

However, the reason we say "double doors" is that, in this context, "double" is the name for the style of doors. You could have two doors that lead into the same room but you wouldn't say the room had 'double doors' unless the two doors were together. If a room had two separate doors you would just it had "two doors". "Double doors" is a compound noun that describes a set of doors styled that way. Likely there are other similar examples too.

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    The problem with this answer is that "double zero" isn't often a mathematical expression. Usually, if we say "double zero" we mean 00, which (in a phone number or reference number) usually can't be replaced with 0 - just as if we say "double two" we very often mean 22, not 4.
    – rjpond
    Jan 1, 2021 at 13:49
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    Yeah I agree on the doors - double door is the style, and since there are two of them, if you're talking about both as separate objects you'd say double doors. Double bed, double whisky, double trouble, they're all describing a thing that's twice as much as normal Jan 1, 2021 at 15:04
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    Notably the same convention applies to spelling. We would say that "see" is spelt s, double-e (never "double-es").
    – rjpond
    Jan 1, 2021 at 15:06
  • Maybe the frequent need to spell things orally has led to a special idiom of oral spelling. If we were talking on the phone and I tried to clarify which word I had intended by saying "a t then an r then an e then another e," you would shout "Get on with it!" We just name the letters one after another, without articles or the word "then" or pluralization, and with this special rule about doubles, because it's efficient in that very common circumstance of oral spelling.
    – Chaim
    Jan 1, 2021 at 15:23
  • @rjpond As this isn't a maths forum, I've removed that part of my answer.
    – Astralbee
    Jan 1, 2021 at 17:11

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