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Twenty Ten and a winner

I can’t get used to the year 2010 being pronounced as “twenty ten.” I’ve heard newscasters use it and radio announcers say it, and the new default WordPress theme is even called Twenty Ten. It’s everywhere, and it seems so odd to me even though it shouldn’t. I was used to saying “nineteen ninety” or “nineteen eighty-two” which use the same structure. But when we rolled all four numbers over into a new century we were suddenly saying “two thousand this” and “two thousand that.” It seems strange to go back to the old way now.

At least we’re in a decade that actually has a name. It’s the teens, right? Like how we had the nineties and the eighties and the seventies before that? I find it fascinating and sort of scary that when we entered the years 2000-2009—BOOM!—the word to describe the current decade disappeared from our language, and no one made a big deal about it. It was like someone had stolen all the forks in the world and we just made due do with spoons instead. Who knew a type of word could just vanish like that, all because no one knew what to call it? The oughties? The noughties?

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12 Comments

Early • October 14, 2010 at 8:49 am

We say Twenty Ten all the time here in Southern Africa. Even the whole World Cup affair was referred to as 20-10. It was as though as soon as the festivities were over so will the year.
Occasionally I would say Two Thousand Ten (of course influenced by Americans), but the majority of the population here either say 20-10 or 2000 AND 10. Next year is definitely 20-11, haven’t heard anyone refer to it as anything else yet, not 2000-11 or 2000 and 11 – both sound a bit off.

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Emi • October 14, 2010 at 11:05 am

I think it’s weirder when people say oh-ten. oh-eight? sure. oh-nine? yes. But oh-ten? not so much.

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RG • October 14, 2010 at 11:09 am

not to be snarky, but I keep running across this term enough to be curious: is it “make due” or “make do” (or is it the mikado? ) google tells me it’s make do. Next up: is it toe the line or tow the line? Inquiring minds want to know.

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maxie • October 14, 2010 at 11:59 am

Grammar police here.

It’s make do and toe the line. For “toe the line” think about what it means–to obey–to stay on the line, not to drag the line. For “make do,” well I just know that’s right because, as I said, grammar police here.

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Dee • October 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm

News people have been calling 2000-2009 the “oughts”. When I first started hearing it, I was thrown out of whack since we don’t even really use that word in this era, but, I guess it will do. Last time I heard that word was my great grandmother when she was giving out her phone number and would say “ought” for the zeros in it.

I would like the past decade to be called the “double-Ohs”.

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Naantje • October 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm

In Belgium, they decided to call 2000 – 2009 the “nillies” (rediculous that they thought of something, while we don’t even speak English…) I like the “noughties” better, for the “naughties” :P

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Amy • October 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm

2000-2009 = The Noughties. Was that an Australian thing?

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Andrea • October 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I called the last decade the cheery-o’s but could never get it to catch on. :)

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Lynn • October 15, 2010 at 5:29 am

It was the “oughts” as Dee says. I agree that we didn’t hear it much, I guess because it does have that old-fashioned ring to it. But of course it’s old-fashioned, since it hasn’t happened for a century! “Teens” still sounds cool.

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Kira • October 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I kind of vote for 2010 for being called “that bastard year that can leave any time now.”
But I may be projecting my personal experience of it a bit too much.

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Andrea Lee • October 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I’m a fan of the naughties, myself. :-P

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Amy • November 1, 2010 at 9:15 pm

The DJs in Ireland totally call it the noughties, which I still think sounds ridiculous, but I need to get used to it. But then they also say nil-all for a 0-0 tied game and ‘nought’ for some zeroes (but not all of them!) in phone numbers. I wondered how the US got by w/o a decade name for so long myself!

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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