I have found some statements using the format years instead of year. When do we use years like 1950s and 2010s, rather than year like 1950 and 2010?

Fish stocks here began to decline in the 1950s, and within 20 years, there was no brown trout left.

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    I don't think I understand--is there a question here? Can you re-phrase? – bikeboy389 Dec 10 '10 at 3:06
  • @bikeboy389, I changed my question title and btw I just wonder can I replace the 1950s with 1950 simply in my sample above? I am not clear about the usage conditions of YEARS. Thank you. – Nano HE Dec 10 '10 at 3:12

To answer based on what I think you meant from the clarification of the original:

1950 is specific, and 1950s is more general, referring to the decade 1950-1959. You would use 1950 only when you are referring to that specific year. So if you mean something within the decade 1950-1959, you'd use 1950s.

Am I answering the right question?

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1950 refers to the single year 1950.

1950s refer to the period 195X, where X can be any digit.

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