I think I'll go back to saying 'two thousand and' years

I think I'll go back to saying 'two thousand and' years
Source: Reusableart.com

As November comes hurtling tpward us, I keep hearing about things with seasons or series that last through this year and next — the ’20-’21 seasons. Of course, that’s hard to hear any differently from things that are happening completely next year, 2021.

At least it’s hard to hear if you pronounce it the way that seems most common in U.S. broadcasting, “twenty twenty-one.” So I’m going to avoid saying it that way when I can.

Of course, I grew up hearing about the ’77-’78 school year and the ’80-’81 hockey season, so I’m used to the idea of two numbers meaning years for beginnings and endings.  It’s just that I’m getting a bit tired of the number 20 after using it for double duty all year — 2020 and ’20.

I grew up hearing about “the year two thousand” long before that became the formal way to say it and Y2K became the standard casual way. Arithmetic classes featured story problems about “your birthday in the year 2000” and other things based on what that huge number would be. The “two thousand and” style of speaking about years hung on for a while; I didn’t really think of it as vanishing until this year. (That’s enough reason to bring back “two thousand and” right there, eh?)

If we refer to this year as 2020, or “twenty-twenty,” that makes a season that spans Jan. 1 a tongue-twister: “twenty-twenty to twenty-twenty-one.” Saying ’20-’21 might work if the context made it clear, but that’s not always. Saying “two thousand and twenty-one” is clearer.

Besides, who wants to keep being reminded of 20 — of this year — all the time? Personally, I’ll pass.

Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.



Filed under: Expressions

Tags: 2020 visions


Leave a comment
  • i figure that the Y2K scare ended 20 years ago, so I have quit using the preliminary 20--, unless compelled to do so by a web form.

  • In reply to jack:

    That's reasonable of you, Jack. I'm gradually putting the apostrophe back in place of the first two digits of the year myself. I'm glad you can say you've quit.

  • I'm late to this, but I would add that I am affiliated with an organization that has a July to July fiscal year. Thus, this past budget year is reported as 19-20. However, the computer program that produces the reports drops the hyphen. Thus, when I first saw a report for "1920" I was puzzled, not knowing if this was a typo or an historical comparison. It is even more jarring this year: "2021."

  • In reply to jnorto:

    I suppose one indicator would be whether the dollar amounts were 4% of what you would have expected now. Of course, if it were the restaurant business, that would be explainable. Sort of like when I got a cash register receipt from a restaurant dated May 36, 2012.

    Which again shows it is the ---- computer's fault.

Leave a comment