Many Are Cold, but Few Are Frozen

David Lawrence's personal blog

What year is it? Two-thousand and ten or twenty-ten?


For the last decade I've wondered how English speakers will handle the names of 21st-century years after 2010. Our way of breaking the name of a year into two halves, pronounced as two separate numbers (for example, nineteen-fifty for 1950) doesn't work out for years in the first decade of the century. The year 2009, for example, would sound like the number 29. So it wasn't a surprise that we said two-thousand and nine instead.

But now it's 2010. We can say twenty-ten and it will be clear that we're talking about a year. But will we do it? Or has a decade of saying two-thousand and something broken a centuries-old habit?

I prefer to stick to two-thousand, but I'm more curious than concerned. Maybe I'll ask my kids. They'll spend more time in this century than I will.