Is there any rule to follow in the naming of years this century?
My gut tells me that 2010 would be the first year we would use the “Twenty-year” format instead of “Two Thousand-year” format, as it would become quicker and easier to say, though I don’t know if there is a hard and fast rule on this, or how long it will take the population to settle for this shortcut.
The years 2001-09 are equally long either way, but it seems the usage of “Two Thousand” is more common.
2000 = Two Thousand or Twenty Hundred or Twenty-oh-oh
2001 = Two Thousand One or Twenty-oh-one
2002 = Two Thousand Two or Twenty-oh-two
2010 = Two Thousand Ten or Twenty-ten
I think when there are two seperate numbers not seperated by a zero in the year (such as 2010 rather than 2009) then we will start to use “Twenty” as a prefix. It seems odd to say “twenty oh three” even if it has the same or less number of syllables as something like “twenty twenty five” because there are two numbers spoken when talking about it rather than talking about something with three numbers (from the added “oh”).
Hmm, it would be interesting to research how English-speaking people in the years 1901-1909 spoke the year. Nineteen-oh-one? Nineteen-one? Nineteen-aught-one?
Given the widespread aversion of copy editors and style manuals to using a digital year (e.g., 1901) at the beginning of a sentence, surely it wouldn’t be hard to find the year spelled out in words, especially in newspaper issues published near the beginning or the end of the year.
The problem lies (I think) with the significance of ‘two thousand’, which when expressed as “twenty hundred”, sounds much more awkward than “nineteen hundred”.
I can’t say whether that’s just because I haven’t had time to get used to the idea, but 1903 as “one thousand nine hundred and three” would simply never have worked in the same way that 2003 as “two thousand and three” does, so it’s not an exact comparison.