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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The 2000s

Since I'm reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves, I feel like engaging in silly esoteric debates right now, and so I'll post on Tim Noah's article about naming the decade. I disagree with him in that I think that the 2000s (or "two thousands") is appropriate. Here's Noah:

Because there is no name for the present decade, people seeking to describe the spirit of the times often resort to substituting the name of the entire century (or, in extreme cases, the entire millenium). This is pompous and stupid.

I think it's possible to use the appellation "2000s" and make clear you're referring to the decade, not the whole century or millennium, from the context. From personal experience, I think this is already the most common name people use when referring to the decade. Perhaps a good approach might also be to ask what people called the first decade of the 20th century. I think it was the 1900s, and that wasn't referring to the whole century (for that people invoked "the twentieth century" just as we can talk about the 21st).

We also might get a better answer to this question from the usage that emerges in 2010 when people have to start referring back to the previous decade.