There are several things that I don't understand. I know that zero is a real number, but I'm confused on the how and why aspects. What defines a real number, compared to a number that's considered non-real? For what reason is zero real, and how is it that a value such as infinity isn't when zero is?
Also, what purpose does zero even have? It's obvious that it's used as a place holder, but what value does it have alone? What makes it any different from other numbers? I realize that it is typically interchanged with nothing, but that would technically mean that zero is nothing—and that's not true. People have told me already so many times that zero does not necessarily mean nothing, and I figured it out a long while ago anyway. So, what I want to know is the actual value that can be associated with zero.
However, my question brings up another topic that has been argued and disputed about and disagreed on for years. Zero divided by zero, or 0/0. There are a lot of varying answers about this, but what's been constant throughout everything is that people claim 0/0 is not a real number. So, if I may ask, why is it that zero is considered a real number, and not 0/0? And why is it considered non-real in the first place? True, there is no defined value, but the expression is anything but meaningless; if it was, then there wouldn't be so many people trying to understand it. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is the reason behind the expression's classification as non-real—especially when the sole number of zero is real, despite not having an evident value.
This covers a few different things, so I was uncertain about what to make the title of these questions. I apologize for that. If anyone can answer, though, I'd be extremely grateful!