0504V Numbers Zero and One, Quantity and Question

Selecting the right words for Zero and One in Hawaiian

In this 20 minute video, you will learn the difference between zero and one as numbers (digits), and zero and one as quantity in Hawaiian. You will also learn how to ask “how many?” using the word ʻehia. We will read out phone numbers together and you will also have a chance to practice some examples of what we learn in this lesson before the 20 minutes is done!

Level Check

Before watching this video, make sure you know how to say the numbers one through nine. If you need to review, please go to 0502V Hawaiian Number Basics: From 1 to 100. You may also find the 0500 Series Index a great place to start if you arrived here directly from a web search.

Zero and None

In English, we use the words “no” or “none” to refer to quantity, as in “there are no cars” and “he has two cars but I have none”. We use the word “zero” or “nought” to mean the number itself, as in “this is the digit zero: 0”.

A similar thing happens in Hawaiian: no or none in quantity is ʻaʻohe, and zero or nought is ʻole. This will be discussed more in the video (links are at the bottom of this article).


The number “one” in English, on the other hand, is used for both the digit and for quantity: One, two, three; one car, one house. But in Hawaiian, it acts like zero does: hoʻokahi for quantity; kahi or ʻekahi commonly for the plain number one.


  • “E nā keiki, e helu kākou i nā huahelu mua ʻehā: ʻole, kahi, lua, kolu.”
    (Children, let’s count the first four numbers: zero, one, two, three.)
  • “ʻEhia manu e kau ana ma ke kumulāʻau? ʻAʻohe!
    (How many birds are sitting in the tree? None!)
  • “Aia hoʻokahi wale nō kīʻaha ma ke pākaukau.”
    (There is only one glass on the table.)

Learn More And Practice

Now is a good time to go and watch the video. So have your notepad at the ready and learn something new!

After you are done, take some time to use the words in your daily lives. I think “ʻaʻohe”is especially useful as a quick Hawaiian-style reply when someone might ask you if you have any [something] left, as in “Hey mommy, are there any cookies left in the jar?” and you reply, “ʻAʻohe!”. Or maybe you are feeling benevolent and when a little one asks, “Dad, can I have some [insert favorite candy name here] before I go outside?” and you reply, “Hoʻokahi – just one!”

There are more examples of ways to practice shown in the video.

Next Steps

Next up in this numbers series will be 0505V Number Prefixes #1: ʻA-, ʻE- in which you will learn how to add the common prefix ʻe- to the base numbers from one to nine in order to summarize quantity; and the prefix ʻa- to show a series.

Video Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Zero as a digit (ʻole)
  3. None (ʻaʻohe)
  4. One as a digit (kahi, ʻekahi)
  5. One as quantity (hoʻokahi)
  6. How to say “How many?”
  7. Samples for practice
  8. Summary

Length: 20 minutes

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