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From: Matthias Schabel (boost_at_[hidden])
Date: 2003-10-29 11:39:35

> Rob Stewart:
> > and there's no 0th. One poster suggested that the year before
> > one's first birthday, is the 0th year. Sorry, but I've never
> > heard anyone mention the 0th year of a child's life.
> No, but it's not till the following year that the child is one year
> old.
> Alan
> --
> Alan Bellingham
> (LJ: Bellinghman)

What seems to be getting lost here is that, while you can choose any
index to label the first element in a sequence, the concept of
first, second, ... , nth is one of relative order in which (see
definition below) the first is the element preceding _all_ others. For
example, operator[index] returns the element corresponding to the
specified index (where, in C convention, 0 corresponds to the first
one) while nth_element(nth) should return the element in the
appropriate ordinal position. I don't think anyone would be confused
if I said that
vector[0] is the first element...

 From Merriam-Webster ( :

Main Entry: 1) first

Pronunciation: 'f&rst
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fyrst; akin to Old High
German furist first, Old English faran to go -- more at FARE
Date: before 12th century
: preceding all others in time, order, or importance

Matthias Schabel, Ph.D.
Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research
729 Arapeen Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
801-587-9413 (work)
801-585-3592 (fax)
801-706-5760 (cell)
801-484-0811 (home)
mschabel at ucair med utah edu

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