Hi, my name is Grisel, 25, and I am from Argentina. I have two questions related to YEARS and I think I can find the answers here in this forum. These are my questions:

A)We know that an expression such us "the 1910's" makes reference to the second decade of the Twentieth Century. But the expression "the 1900's" refers to which one of the following concepts:

1)The first ten years of the Twentieth Century?
2)The complete Twentieth Century? (I found expressions like "the early 1900's", "the mid 1900's" and "the late 1900's", which clearly speak about different periods of the Twentieth Century)
3)Both, but depending on the context?

B)According to the English language, in what year does the Twentieth Century begin: 1901 or 1900?

Thank you very much in advance for your answers,

Best regards,
Grisel
Original Post
The expression "the 1900s" refers to any and all years that begin with "19." This includes all years from 1900 through 1999 (but see below). Because a century is a long time, we usually say "the early/mid/late --00s." We also say "the first/last half of the --00s" or "the second/fourth decade of the --00s."


B. A great deal of discussion on this question surrounded the approach of the year 2000. Strictly speaking, a century begins with the year ending in the number 1. This is because there never was a "Year 0." The first century began with the year 1. The same principle applies to a change of millennium.

You'll find a very lucid explanation of the correct way to see centuries and millennia at

http://www.detray.com/jeff/millennium/

So, the expressions "the 1900s" and "the 19th century" are not identical. This discrepancy doesn't seem to bother many people, however.

Marilyn Martin

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