This review concerns monoclinic zirconia, its surface sites and their probing with carbon monoxide. The modifications of the surface sites using thermal treatments with vacuum or reactive gases are also included. In this work, we present information on the nature and manipulation of hydroxyl species and their quantities on the surface, the different types of cationic sites where CO is adsorbed linearly and their energetics, as well as the surface sites and dynamics of formate formation. We also compare the surface concentrations of the different surface species to better understand the extent and nature of the interactions. Finally, we discuss some of the remaining open questions and how to approach them.