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In similarity to this question: once, twice, thrice, *frice?

What are some words that indicate 'zero times' ?

EDIT:

I'm looking for a word that clearly states a zero-time occurrence. Not a simple negation.

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-1 because the answer to the question you linked also has the answer to this question. –  MrHen Jul 13 '11 at 4:01
    
why is everyone voting this question down? –  whoabackoff Jul 13 '11 at 6:17
    
As per the comment by MrHen, your answer is in that question you linked. There are no other terms in the series "once, twice, thrice" besides the ones listed. –  simchona Jul 13 '11 at 7:51
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5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It was done once. It was done twice. It was done never. It was never done.

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There is no English word that means "zero times." The only words which mean "{number} times" in English are once, twice, and thrice.

However, there are many ways to express that an action has been done zero times (including those given in the other answers), for example, saying, "It was done zero times."

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What about twofold and threefold? –  whoabackoff Jul 13 '11 at 5:36
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@whoabackoff "-fold" doesn't mean "{number} times", but rather "times {number}" (which is significantly different in meaning) and can generally only be used in comparisons, not occurrences. –  rintaun Jul 13 '11 at 5:38
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And there's "a shield of threefold bronze" which is neither comparison nor occurrence (come to think of it, it may be a description rather than an idiom) –  TimLymington Jul 13 '11 at 14:07
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The typical way to say this is to simply negate the action. For the example of "It was done once/twice/thrice", one would say "it was not done." Other than that, there is no equivalent to once/twice/thrice for anything other than 1, 2, 3.

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This answer isn't useful since it can only be applied with 'done'. What about 'I asked once/twice/thrice'? –  whoabackoff Jul 13 '11 at 4:27
    
"I did not ask." You should be able to extrapolate this to other verbs. The answer is, "There is no such word for 0." –  MrHen Jul 13 '11 at 4:35
    
This still doesn't answer the question. You're simply negating the verb. I'm looking for an answer that clearly states 'ZERO times'. –  whoabackoff Jul 13 '11 at 4:39
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There isn't one, other than saying "zero times" or "I did not do it" or "it was not done." There is no equivalent to once/twice/thrice other than those specific three words. –  MrHen Jul 13 '11 at 4:42
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Once, twice, thrice? Perhaps the answer is Never found. Not Ever.

So we still have the negation, but it's applied to the time Ever, not the verb.

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I believe this is a philosophical problem, not linguistic. "It was done zero times" is just a clumsy way of saying "it was not done." So asking for a word that means one and not the other is self-defeating.

(This is a common mistake by computer programmers, since "a variable set to zero" is not the same as "a variable not defined". But reality does not work like that.)

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