divendres, 8 de gener de 2010


Happy New Year! The big question is, though, how should we read 2010 in English? From the eleventh to the twentieth centuries we read years in twos – that is, 1982 is read as “nineteen eighty-two” rather than like the number “one thousand nine hundred and eighty-two”. It was generally assumed, though, that after the year 2000, the years would be read as numbers and, hence, 2010 would be “two thousand and ten”. However, many people read it as “twenty ten”. So which is right?

The truth is both are correct at present as no one actually makes these decisions in English. Popular and official usage will tend to use one more than the other until that becomes the accepted norm. “Two thousand and ten” sounds more correct and traditional, but “twenty ten” sounds more direct and modern, and seems to be winning the day judging by its use on the BBC and other media.

2 comentaris:

  1. Plus "twenty" is the next logical number in the series "seventeen, eighteen, nineteen,..."

    Most people refer to the date of the Battle of Hastings in England as "ten sixty-six", not "one thousand sixty-six" and I've been wondering for the past ten years why we have insisted on saying "two thousand". I suspect that we did it because we were in awe of a new millenium. Now the awe has decreased somewhat.

  2. I have a theory but haven't put enough internet time in to prove it - in the UK, at least, we often refer to numbers from 1000 to 1999 in a different way from those after 2000 (not talking about years here). For example, a car with a 950cc engine would be a nine hundred and fifty cc engine, a car with a 2600 cc engine, would be a "two thousand six hundred" cc one, while a 1600 cc one would be read as "sixteen hundred". We say this referring to other issues two, such as money- the price of something may be "fifteen hundred pounds", but never "twenty-five hundred pounds".
    Hence, I deduce that for some historical reason we have an alternative way of saying numbers from 1000 t0 1999 and this was the origin of the way to say years, and the reason why we "should" have changed after 2000.... obviously, though, twenty ten will win out as it's much cooler and simpler!
    The roots of this difference, I have so far failed to find ...