I need to express that a system is creating objects. The number of objects can be specified. And the objects are numbered from 0 to number of objects minus 1. How do I express that?

Example: The primary thread is creating a team of OpenMP threads. They are numbered in ascending order with the primary thread receiving the thread number 0.

My issue: An ascending order does not mean that the interval between the numbers in ascending order is 1. But I need to express that also. How can I do that in proper English?

  • Typically, you should wait a day or so before accepting an answer. In this domain-specific request, I suggest that the "other" answer would be better understood.
    – costrom
    Mar 28 at 22:04
  • I’m voting to close this question because it requires very highly specialized domain-specific knowledge and therefore is not a question about English or its Usage. Please re-ask this on a programming-related SE site.
    – tchrist
    Mar 29 at 0:54
  • @Tchrist I read your profile, and I really enjoyed it. Way to go on your co-authoring of your book. I live in Sebastopol where the O'Reilly is located. On a more relative subject, I was wondering if there was any source that gives some sort of general description as to what an appropriate question for this site looks like?
    – JΛYDΞV
    Mar 29 at 5:44
  • @costrom Your argument is fair, I accept that. I generally had no words for what I wanted to express so the accepted answer was the best in general, even if the example on which I discovered my lacking knowledge was from a specific domain. Since I am not used to getting many answers I did not hesitate to accept
    – tkan
    Mar 29 at 8:47

3 Answers 3


I suggest

They are numbered consecutively from 0.

Lexico has


1 One after another without interruption.
1.1 In unbroken or logical sequence.
the drives are just numbered consecutively

I don't think you need to belabour it with in ascending order, but you would need to say descending if they were numbered 0 -1 -2 etc.


For computer literate readers the phrase "zero-based indexing" will convey this idea concisely. The "indexing" part indicates that consecutive integers are used to label the items.

The primary thread is creating a team of OpenMP threads, accessible using zero-based indexing.

  • 2
    This is also at times shorted to "zero-indexing" or "zero-indexed".
    – tjjfvi
    Mar 28 at 22:06
  • 2
    And in fact, within the specific domain of computer programming, this terminology is so standard that if you don't use some variant of the phrase "zero-indexed", it might raise questions in some readers' minds about whether you were deliberately avoiding the phrase because you actually mean something different and unconventional.
    – David Z
    Mar 29 at 0:55
  • Thank you for your point of view @DavidZ. I mostly encountered that wording on arrays or similar data structures and did not find it in the documentation about the thing I work with, so this clarifies and helps a lot.
    – tkan
    Mar 29 at 8:50

Enumerate (d, ing)

Enumerate (pronounced: e·nu·mer·ate) is the absolute correct word to use for situation described by the question.

Enumerate, in all of its forms (enumerates, enumerated, enumeration, and enumerating) is a word that's commonly found in computer science. Its used to describe a system (or algorithm) with the system/algorithm works in a particular way. It should be noted, the question asked by this posts author, describes a very simple algorithm. To offer a clear example, I have expressed the algorithm below

index = index + 1

Each object in a group takes on a number, this is called the index-number. Every index-number is equal to the index-number that was assigned before it, plus one.

The name for this algorithmic-process is called enumeration.

The process of using an expressible repeating pattern, to increment a the index-numbers of object-groups, is called enumeration.

When ever a system increments a groups index number, using a pattern that repeats it is said that the system enumerates.

When a system enumerates a group of objects successfully, the processed group is said to have been enumerated.

When a group of objects is able to be enumerated, it is said to be enumerable.

Enumerate is not only a word used in Computer Science and Mathematics, it is often used in a more formal context as well. Below is the generic definition, non-specific to any academic-subject or science. I also included an example, used by someone not referencing anything computer science related. The purpose of outlined the generic use of Enumerate, is to show that even in a non math-related context, the word is still used to describe the process of index = 1 + 1.

The formal definition — which I obtained from Dictionary.com — is as follows:

DefinitionTo mention separately as if in counting; name one by one; specify, as in a list.

Here is a Merriam Webster provided example of Enumerate being used in a public article.

EXAMPLE: One historian, years ago, decided to collect and enumerate all the scholarly explanations for the fall of Rome.

                — Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic, 1 Mar. 2022

  • If it seems like I overly defined the word enumerate, or like my answer is too verbose, then you probably don't share the love for the English language that I do.
    – JΛYDΞV
    Mar 28 at 22:39
  • Outside of math and computer science, I'm not sure "enumerate" carries the implication of a specific order that the asker is going for.
    – nasch
    Mar 28 at 23:35
  • @Nasch first of all, this question was closed because it request a very specific domain of knowledge. Which is an accurate reason for closing the question. As much as I enjoyed answering it, I felt like I was answering a question on Stack Overflow. He was asking to describe a system. Describing systems is the very essence of what a programming language does.
    – JΛYDΞV
    Mar 29 at 5:36
  • 1
    How would you suggest that this word be used? Would you suggest simply "The primary thread is creating a team of OpenMP threads. They are enumerated"? I think that's not adequate, because if I came across that in documentation, I wouldn't know what it means, and I would have several different guesses: I'd guess that maybe it means "they are listed explicitly somewhere in this documentation," or maybe "there is some process which occasionally makes a list of them," or maybe "they are assigned numbers in some unspecified fashion." Mar 29 at 9:44

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