How do you say ‘2010’?

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Jim Burke, General Manager of The Daily Planner, was on NPR recently to talk about the new year: is it two-thousand ten or twenty-ten?

Burke, who has to say the word “a zillion times a day, it feels like,” prefers “two-thousand ten.” His rationale?

Because probably of the movie “2001,” people just got used to saying that over and over again. So when they move to each year, they’re just saying 2002, 2003 all the way through.

Another guest on the program found a different pop-culture reference to support his preference for “twenty-ten” — the 1969 Zager and Evans song “In the Year 2525,” which begins, “In the year twenty-five twenty-five, if man is still alive, if woman can survive…”

You can listen to the interview, or read a transcript, at the NPR website.

How do you pronounce it?

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9 thoughts on “How do you say ‘2010’?

  1. you have heard of double aught shotgun shells, right?
    why not say two aught one aught? I don’t know how “aught” is spelled, but you get the idea.

  2. I think I’ll say twenty-ten! Columbus sailed in forteen ninty-two. We celebrate America’s founding in seventeen seventy-six, the Civil War ended in eighteen sixty-five. WWII ended in nineteen forty-five. I was born in nineteen fifty, etc. I think you may see my point. It only stands to reason that now we have passed the first decade it is time to say twenty ten. But that’s just my logic!

  3. I recently heard a radio DJ proclaim something that was to happen in “o’ten”. That got me thinking, since I hear people say, “o’nine”, but it would likely be me saying two-thousand and ten because of a kid in elementary school still learning place values.

  4. My spouse and kids and I have argued these questions (in fun). I say “twenty-o”; they insist that saying “two-thousand” is the norm. Alas, I’d rather have The Daily Planner than Zager and Evans on my side. : )

  5. In the beginning of 2010, both pronunciations will be used widely. But my guess is that by the end of 2010 and into 2011, most English speakers will switch to solely “twenty” for the rest of the century (and into the 22nd century).

    This is based simply on the amount of syllables necessary to say the year. We’ve always gone with the least amount of syllables.

    For example:
    1999 = “Nineteen ninety nine” (less syllables than “One thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine”)
    2000 = “Two thousand” (less syllables than “Twenty hundred”)
    2010 = “Twenty ten” (less syllables than “Two thousand (and) ten”)

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