In the hopes of making things easier for me, I've been referring to centuries by their number range-- "the 1900's" rather than "the twentieth century". I've gotten one piece of feedback from someone who found it confusing, but how clear is it to most people who are reading this?

I find it confusing as well: the century already has a different name and the decade does not, so it's natural to assume "the 1900s" refers to the decade.

Also, I guess technically "the 1900s" includes 1900 but not 2000 and "the 20th century" includes 2000 but not 1900.

1Lumifer3yMy first intuitive reaction would be to interpret "the 1900s" as early XX century. I would not expect, say, the 80s and the 90s to be part of "the 1900s".
2arundelo3yPerfectly clear, and probably in most contexts less likely to elicit off-by-one errors. The only confusing things I can see are: * Maybe someone might think you just meant the first decade of the 1900s? * Similarly, is "the 2000s" a century or a decade or a millennium? (This and the previous problem are solved by using e.g., "19xx", but that's probably only clear in written language.) * This style (it seems to me) is more common with older stuff (e.g., the 1800s and 1700s), so someone might do a double-take at "the 1900s", thinking it sounds longer ago than it is. * There's also the thing of how the twentieth century is, if we're being pedantic [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century#Debate_over_Century_celebrations], not the years 1900 through 1999, but the years 1901 through 2000.

Open thread, Dec. 19 - Dec. 25, 2016

by MrMind 1 min read19th Dec 2016106 comments

2


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