The voltage is called alternating current for a reason. A flashlight battery always goes from positive to negative. Not so with our AC friend. It constantly changes its mind. One millisec it is neg and one millisec later is it positive. The alternating current is purposely so to keep wires from getting too hot. So if you are checking a circuit and you come across a bad part that opens the circuit you gonna get a voltage reading because the current is constantly alternating from one post to the other. If however all is kosher there won't be any voltage read because only one side of the current will be in the mix. The current will be moving in one direction only. Sort of like being in a sailboat on the lake. You are moving along fine till you decide to turn around. Kapeesh?