Emerald Specter 126: Pronouncing 2020 (The Year)

Since entering the 21st Century, I have had to deal with people figuring out how we would be pronouncing the years as we went along. Now, the 2000s were a bit weird to get through and even I had a hard time nailing down a smooth way to say the year. The instant we got past 2009, though, that should have eliminated any doubt on how we pronounced the years… but, alas, I have to write an entire column correcting some errors.

First, let’s start with the most egregious errors out there: the use of the word “and.”

The biggest and egregious error in the announcing of the current year this century has been the inclusion of the word “and,” which is completely and utterly incorrect in every way, shape, and form. A most recent example comes from sports announcers stating “this year two thousand and twenty.”

Nope, that’s wrong. Completely wrong.

There is no one, and I mean no one who said “nineteen and ninety nine” before the 2000s hit. Not one person. No one alive when the century turned. I cannot abide someone including the word “and” in the year. It makes you sound stupid and is completely incorrect.

Stop using “and” as part of the year. Period.

There’s no “two thousand and twenty,” it wasn’t “two thousand and nineteen,” nor “two thousand and one,” it wasn’t any of those. Stop using the word “and.”

The next incorrect item as part of the year is the continued use of the “two thousand.” As part of 2000-2009, I can see there not really being an option to use anything but “two thousand one” to “two thousand nine.” I get it, I really do. It is completely understandable that we would use that terminology because we would sound ridiculous saying “twenty oh one” or “twenty oh nine.” I’ll concede that point.

However, once we hit 2010, we no longer needed to continue using “two thousand.” When Bill Clinton was President, it wasn’t during “nineteen hundred and ninety five,” he was President during “nineteen ninety five.” In the same manner, Barrack Obama was President during “twenty fifteen,” not “two thousand fifteen” (and sure as hell not during “two thousand AND fifteen”).

Why would you want to sound like you’re from the 18th Century? People stating the first part of the year like an actual number are really from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Most of that was preceded by the phrase “in the year of our lord,” too.

I’ve personally tried to give a lot of slack to the “two thousand ten” to “two thousand nineteen” speakers. But I have literally gone out of my way to point out that we are in THE year where you should be saying the same number twice in a row! TWENTY TWENTY! It’s right in front of you!


Habits are hard to break, I get it. But make an effort. We didn’t say “nineteen hundred ninety seven” or “nineteen hundred eighty six” when talking about the “good old days,” so why do we (the royal we) want to sound like ridiculous old duffs when talking about the year now?

Twenty twenty. Say it like you’re hip and you understand that we have been talking like this since the mid-1950s, at least.

This is the easiest year to start with because the number literally repeats. Jump on the bandwagon. Give it a shot. It’s easy.

If nothing else, though, STOP USING AND! You sound like a moron.

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