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Pronunciation of years in English


As I know, I can read 1991 as nineteen ninety one.

How can I read 2008? twenty o eight? or twenty and eight simply?


2 Answers 2


It's usually referred to orally as "Two thousand eight" or informally as "Oh Eight".

  • 1
    Which is odd, really, when you consider that we've had no trouble saying that the Battle of Hastings happened in "ten sixty-six". I have a feeling we'll settle down into the "twenties" once we hit the teens. It's just awkward going from the end of the "twenty" to an "oh" or an "aught"; we're not good at glottal stops (which is why we have an and a version of the with a long e to give us a palatal approximant to work with) and "twentioate" sounds sloppy to our delicate ears.
    – bye
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 2:37
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    You were saying that "we had no trouble saying ... ten sixty-six." I was suggesting that maybe it's because "twenty sixty-six" would be an extra syllable. "'66" is shorter than "twenty sixty-six." "Ten sixty-six" is, perhaps, acceptable because it's shorter (and therefore more "catchy"). I'm just making wild speculation though.
    – Adam
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 3:49
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    @Anna: I would say "one thousand and eight" (because I come from a place where the "and" is more prevalent than not. It's the "oh" -- it just doesn't feel right, does it?
    – bye
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 4:15
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    @Stan Rogers: I was in elementary school, actually. (where they apparently weren't teaching me about the ambiguity involved with abbreviating years)
    – Adam
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 4:30
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    I knew it was rhetorical - I just chose to answer it regardless.
    – Adam
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 4:48

Unless you are in America, it is probably 'two thousand and eight'. In America, 'two thousand eight'. Who knows why they decided to do it differently, but they do. But, this year is (currently) 'twenty-eleven' as often as, or more often than, 'two thousand [and] eleven'.

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