python for loop

Steven D'Aprano steven at
Thu Apr 2 08:29:49 CEST 2009

On Wed, 01 Apr 2009 21:58:47 -0700, Lie wrote:

> On Apr 1, 7:06 pm, Steven D'Aprano
> <ste... at> wrote:
>> There is a major clash between the names of ordinals in human languages
>> and zero-based counting. In human languages, the Nth-ordinal item comes
>> in position N. You can keep that useful convention with zero-based
>> counting by inventing the ugly word "zeroth", but that just leads to
>> bizarro-talk like "the zeroeth item comes first, the first item comes
>> second, and so on".
> No, there won't be any bizarro-talk. There is no argument: the zeroeth
> item comes zeroeth, the first item comes first, and so on. The index for
> the very zeroeth thing in a list is 0, so to get the zeroeth item you
> use s[0]. While to get the first item you use s[1]. It's very intuitive,
> isn't it?

No, because "first", "second", "third" etc. have existed in the English 
language for hundreds of years and everybody knows them. "Zeroeth" was 
probably invented a few decades ago, and is known by maybe 1% of the 
English-speaking population.

Given the list [a, b, c], if you ask even a C programmer *in English* 
"what's the first item?", they will almost invariably answer a rather 
than b.


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