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Do you remember the other Year 2000 problem, regarding the nicknames of the years? If 1999 was "ninety-nine," then what would we call 2001? At the time, answers such as "one", "oh-one", "two-oh-one" and even "naught-one" were suggested. Now, with well over a decade of experience, what conclusion have we come to, if any?

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I think 2001 will remain two-thousand-and-one and from 2010+ it will be twenty-ten, etc. The 20th century has it's special short-hand versions, but I think in the future it will be the twenty-eighties not the eighties. – Sam May 23 '13 at 23:27
Oh, I just say ought plus the last two digits. Back in ought-eleven, ... – John Lawler May 23 '13 at 23:40
@JohnLawler: Right, it was ought, not naught. – Mixo Lydian May 23 '13 at 23:49
I'm fond of referring to the decade 2000-2009 as The Naughties. – Simon May 24 '13 at 15:08
Naught, nought and ought all appear above. Wikipedia compares these, plus aught, and provides a discussion of their use in the context of decade names, here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_for_the_number_0_in_English – Mixo Lydian May 25 '13 at 13:00
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think 2001 will remain two-thousand-and-one and from 2010+ it will be twenty-ten, etc. The 20th century has it's special short-hand versions, but I think in the future it will be the twenty-eighties not the eighties.

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Really? Perhaps for now. Once we're a couple more decades in, I imagine abbreviated versions will become more popular as the people who are familiar with the 20th-century decades become old and die off. To my great-grandmother, "the 90s" were the 1890s (or, as they were sometimes called, "the gay 90s," an appellation that they weren't given until decades later). To almost everyone alive today, "the 90s" refers to the 1990s. In 80 years, I can't imagine that most people will care enough about the 1990s to want to devote a standard phrase to them. If "the 90s" exists, it will be the 2090s. – Athanasius Jun 5 '13 at 1:10
@Athanasius I don't think anyone was expected more than speculation from this question. Sam's answer seems most applicable to todays vocabulary though. The question also didn't ask for how it will be called 50 years from now. – Vincent Vancalbergh Jun 6 '13 at 8:13
@VincentVancalbergh - I didn't disagree with Sam's answer regarding today's vocabulary. (Please note second sentence of my answer: "Perhaps for now.") I disagreed with the speculation about what we might be calling the 2080s, which few people have reason to discuss now (hence Sam's "in the future..."). I'm not sure why you're replying to my comment, since your argument seems to be with Sam's speculation in his answer, which is exactly what I was commenting on as well. – Athanasius Jun 6 '13 at 20:35
@VincentVancalbergh - Also, I'm not sure the question was asking for "speculation" of any sort. As I read the question, it is wondering if anyone (style guide? usage experts?) at present has come to a consensus about naming conventions for ways to refer to the years 2000-2013 or so. – Athanasius Jun 6 '13 at 20:40
@Athanasius replying to you was mostly born out of the "Really?" with which your reply started. Making me think you were being derisive of Sam's answer. Apparently you weren't so my comment seems a bit ... out of place. – Vincent Vancalbergh Jun 7 '13 at 12:58

We use the term "thousand" (mostly without the "and" for the sake of brevity) when citing the full year:

Two thousand one
Two thousand nine

And we use "oh" before the single digit for the short form:


2011 provides a unique challenge. I hear it split fairly evenly between "two thousand eleven" and "twenty eleven" whereas 2012 most always falls out as "twenty twelve"; I attribute this to the odd middle-accented "eleven" more than anything. It's an awkward word in combination, which is why it often is used for humorous effect ("eleventy-twelve" and the hobbit meal known as "elevensies").

Now that we're in the tweens, the twenties rule: twenty thirteen, twenty fifteen, etc. It's just shorter and easier to say.

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My neighbour from South Africa, who hasn't read Tolkien, says that elevensies is an actual thing there. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 20 '13 at 14:39
Not everyone uses the word thousand without the word and after it. I know that it is common in the USA but, not in the UK, where and is included and your examples would be two thousand and one and two thousand and nine. – Tristan r Dec 20 '13 at 15:09

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