Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wednesday's Whinings -- "The Year" 2000

One hundred seven years ago, did we call it "the year one thousand nine hundred?"

Two hundred seven years ago, was it "the year one thousand eight hundred?"

No. It was simply "nineteen hundred" and "eighteen hundred."

Why, oh why, do we insist on calling the first years in the 21st century "two thousand?"

It should simply be twenty hundred. This year would be twenty-0-seven, just like we call it nineteen-0-seven.

In 150 years, are we going to be saying "two thousand one hundred fifty seven?" In 355,460 years are we going to be calling it "three hundred fifty-five thousand four hundred sixty-seven?"

No. It'll be twenty-one fifty seven and three fifty-five four sixty-seven.
You just wait and see!

But somehow, we insist on calling it "the year two thousand."

"Hey what kind of car is that?"

"Oh, it's a 'the year two thousand' Honda Civic."

Additionally when writing the number 2,007, you put a comma in it. The year is different; no comma. So calling it something different is perfectly consistent as well.

Actually, I've had this pet peeve for quite a while. Back in 1990, I called into a local radio talk show hosted by Paula LeRocque, writing coach for the Dallas Morning News. It was a Public Radio program on grammar and writing. I called in and brought this to her attention.

It was 1990 and she said, "Oh, the year 2000 is so far away. I don't think we need to be concerned with this just yet."



At 2:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just more upset that we won't be able to call a decade by a decent nickname until 2020. The Eighties, the Nineties... what decade is this?


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