In which I am annoyed at being told how to pronounce the year.

I came across the following site during my wanderings today: It’s Twenty-ten, not Two-thousand and ten. It makes the following argument about how we should say the year 2010:

Say the year “1810” out loud. Now say the year “1999” out loud. See a pattern? It’s been easier, faster, and shorter to say years this way for every decade (except for the one that just ended) instead of saying the number the long way. However, many people are carrying the way they said years from last decade over to this decade as a bad habit. If we don’t fix this now, we’ll be stuck saying years the long way for the next 89 years. Don’t let that happen!

On the one hand I agree with the argument that it’s easier, faster, and shorter to say twenty-ten instead of two-thousand and ten. On the other hand I want to use the latter form just to piss off the people who put that website up.

I have no good reason why I should feel animosity at a group that’s pointing out something I actually agree with and doing so probably reveals some deep-seated psychological need to be a contrarian asshole, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was annoyed when I read it.

Which is weird because I make similar assertions all the time myself right on my own stupid webpage. So you’d think I’d have no problem with this. All I can conclude from this small episode of illogical irritation is that I must be slowly turning into a Republican.

14 thoughts on “In which I am annoyed at being told how to pronounce the year.

  1. At this risk of you becoming a Bible thumping neotard, I must say, it irritates the hell out of me when people say “and” in saying the year. It was never 18 AND 10 or 19 AND 99. It’s fucking two thousand ten, Les. Two thousand ten or twenty ten. For fuck’s sake.


  2. Any number pronunciation is not supposed to have an “and” in it until you get to a decimal. “Twenty-ten” is the pattern we’ve been using for pronouncing the year, like saying 1500 as “fifteen hundred”.

    Putting the “and” in the number is just plain wrong. Everything else (the two thousands, the aughts, two thousand ten, twenty-ten, etc) is just personal taste. I do like 2K10 and 7DAh 🙂

    The “and” really annoys me when I see this from authors: In Steven Gould’s “Jumper” he wrote, “I had one hundred and ninety-one thousand and four hundred dollars in one dollar bills. When all the calculations were done and redone, I had a nine hundred fifty-three thousand and fifty dollars, not counting the seven hundred and sixty dollars in my jacket pocket.” I’m sure he also meant “I had a nine..” to be “I had a total of nine…”, but all the freaking “ands” really made it more painful to read. And where the hell was his editor?

  3. I know I’ve shared this opinion elsewhere, but I suspect that the “two thousand” phrase still resonates with a number of people the way it did for a thousand years or so, especially in the decades following World War II. The year 2000 went hand in hand with futuristic concepts, and a great many people embarked on flights of fancy that centered around some utopian “new era.” They just can’t let go of it. It’s become almost a religious taboo. You hear the echoes of those angelic choirs in the background when some people say “Two thousand…..” Saying “twenty-ten” makes it just another year. Which it is. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any tears.
    -Volly (invoking another favorite utopian ideal)

  4. Doesn’t make any difference to me. I’d rather we concentrate on the people who use “Eye-rack” and “Eye-ran,” especially since these incorrect pronunciations seem to be spreading.

  5. I plan to refer to this, and the succeeding whole bunch of years, as “oh ten,” “oh fourteen,” and thus and such. Is there not an “oh” in there?

  6. Funny- I just had this conversation with my son half an hour ago. I told him that for some unknown reason, while I said two thousand nine last year, this year I’m inclined to say twenty ten. Maybe because of the simple sound of it. In any case, people that get really exercised about this probably have too much time on their hands…

  7. Interesting note: I was just noticing the other day that the Mumble voice client reads back any four digit number typed in chat in the “twenty-ten” format. At least in Windows, so it may be a Microsoft voice thing also.

  8. I’ll go with two thousand ten. Two thousand and ten is just wrong. And goes in place of the decimal point, as in two thousand ten and 55/100 dollars.

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