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January 10, 2010

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In choosing the period 2000-2009 as its 'decade' for its Word of the Decade et al, the ADS has fallen into a common definitional error, one which they, of all organization, ought to have been aware. Since there was not a year '0', the first year of the 21 century and its corresponding decade was 2001. The last year of this decade is 2010. ADS has gotten ahead of itself.

Then again, any period of ten consecutive years might be called a decade. It just seems less professional than one would expect of the ADS to fall back on such an imprecise definition as this one.

StockC: Thanks for the comment. Yours is a common perception that is based on math rather than culture. To test it, ask yourself whether you consider 1980 to be part of "the 1970s." And see Bill Walsh's post on this subject: http://theslot.blogspot.com/2010/01/happy-new-decade.html

I accept your point. However, I'd just read a blog within the past week where some distinguished grammarian railed against an article which incorporated the year 2000 within the 21st century.

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/twenty-first+century
The 21st century is the current century of the Common Era in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It began on January 1, 2001 and will end December 31, 2100.

The same logic should also apply to 'decade'. How can 'decade' be out of sync with 'century'? (I know -- that is Blogspot's 'disconnect', but I semantically rebel.)

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/decade
A decade may also be a well-defined historical period of ten years in a dating system. In that sense, the first decade of the 20th century indicates a period from January 1, 1901 until December 31, 1910.

Blogspot's 'decade' is really idiomatic, rather than definitional.

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