“Twenty-ten” or “Two thousand ten?” That is the question!

30 Jan

Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, recently tackled the issue in a post I just read: How Do You Pronounce 2010?

To be honest I haven’t given much thought to the question.  Still I can understand people’s confusion over the issue.

Fogarty asserts that before the turn of the century people generally pronounced the name of the year by coupling the first two numbers together and the last two numbers together shortening the pronunciation.  For example: the year 1920 would be said as “nineteen twenty.”

In 2000 people again rejected the term “two thousand” and instead shortened the name of the year calling it “Y2K.”  I never used the term but found it strangely printed on the back of my high-school graduation charm.

The following year, 2001, people started referring to the year as “two thousand one” instead of “twenty-oh-one.”  It is unclear why the change in style occurred.  Personally I like “two thousand one” as the “oh” in “twenty-oh-one” could be mistaken as the letter “o” instead of the number zero.

Now it is the year 2010 and I have heard it referred to as both “two thousand ten” and “twenty ten.”   So which way is the ‘right’ way to pronounce 2010?  Just like in some regions of the U.S. people pronounce the word pecan as ‘pee-can’ yet others say ‘pee-con’ depending on the region they live in and personal preference, both pronunciations are correct.

My preference is to continue to using the terms “two thousand ten” and “twenty ten” interchangeably.  Either works for me.  The good news is when writing ‘2010’ is that it’s always written as ‘2010.’

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