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April 18, 2002

The way to pronounce the decade we're in

I heard something this morning that sounded odd, but in the years to come will be so familiar that we'll all forget when we first heard it.  It was a story on NPR about trying to reverse the 'sunset' on the new tax rates that will occur in 2011.  The odd part the way the politician and the reporter said 2011 out loud: they said "twenty-eleven."

Up to now, that's not what people say: for 2002 and 2000, we say "two-thousand-and-two" and "two-thousand".  Even for years further out, that's the way I've heard it up until now: "The social security trust fund will run out of money in two-thousand and twenty-three."  But over time the shorter way will win, and chances are people in the future will reverse the way we talk about the decade we're in now: "The World Trade Center attack occurred in twenty-oh-one".