Two Thousand Four or Twenty Oh Four?

In 1999 we didn’t say the year was one thousand nine hundred ninety nine, we said nineteen ninety nine. Now, instead of saying the year is twenty oh four we say it is two thousand four.

I’m curious how the year was said in English several hundred years ago and how we should be saying it now.

It seems to me that we are actually saying it correctly by saying two thousand four but my co-workers disagree :slight_smile:

Oops! Since I can’t report my own post, would a moderator mind fixing my ‘th’ typo to read twenty’?


No ‘should’. Whatever’s easier on the tongue wins.

I say neither. I say Two Thousand And Four. So do most of the people I know, I can’t think of anyone who says it another way to be honest.

Another transatlantice “Two thousand and four” sayer. Most people use this form, but I did hear an English newsreader say “twenty oh-four” the other day.

And the decade is “the naughties”.

I am sure thats just a regional variant. No one I know takes the time to say ‘and’, just two thousand four.

What about ought 4? Then we can all sound like grandpa Simpson. :slight_smile:

I’m one who says “twenty oh four”, but then again I’m a reckless iconoclast. Few people in my area say it that way. I’ll also sheepishly admit that I called 2000 “two thousand” and not “twenty hundred” as I should have for perfect consistency.

But, starting in 2001 I switched to the “twenty” convention that I’d already decided in advance I would use, public opinion be damned.

My bet is that come the year 2020, people will find the temptation to say “twenty twenty” too great to resist, and the proper convention will be restored. Just you wait.

I bet it’ll go back in “twenty ten”.

I have read a number of “old soldier” memoirs of the Napoleonic Wars, and they frequently use “the year 0”, “the year 1”, etc. for 1800, 1801, and so on. This would be one way to avoid the issue (or confuse it further).

I say “two-thousand-four”. In six years I’ll say “twenty-ten”.

If I were talking of a time in the afternoon, I’d say “twenty-oh-four”.

I’m a senior in high school and everyone calls our grade the “class of twenty oh four” or more often “twenty oh fo”

other than that I just stick to the normal “two thousand and four”

So far, I’ve referred to the years as two thousand one, two, three, and four. However, when we start getting into hyphenated numbers, I think the standards are quite clear:

  1. In what year did William the Bastard conquer England?

  2. What year is the title of Zager and Evan’s single hit record?

The answers to these questions are, of course, “ten sixty-six” and “twenty-five twenty-five.” A toddler born last year will turn eighteen in twenty twenty-one.

I’ve a horrible feeling we Anglo-Hibernians (or Hiberno-English, so as not to offend the bogtrotters) will actually resort to saying stuff like “two thousand and seventeen”, which is seven syllables and is a complete waste of energy.

I say “oh four” and occasionally “ought four,” if I want to sound folksy. I don’t throw in the “twenty” unless there’s a possibility of “nineteen.” When we get to 2010, I intend to say “twenty ten.”

Now, while I agree that people probably will say twenty twenty-one, your two examples are more extreme than this case. Note:

Ten sixty-six versus One thousand sixty-six - difference of two syllables
Twenty-five twenty-five versus Two thousand five hundred twenty-five - difference of three syllables
Twenty twenty-one versus Two thousand twenty-one - difference of one syllable

So I wouldn’t say a precedent has quite been set.