Monday, 23 December 2019

Its Not The End Of The Decade

I keep hearing people talking about the end of the decade.  That isn't until the end of next year.  We had all this 20 years ago with the Millennium.

There was no year zero in the modern calendar.  The modern calendar starts with Year 1.  The first decade ended at the end of Year 10, with the second decade starting at the beginning of Year 11.  Similarly, the first century started with Year 1, and ended at the end of Year 100.  The second century began on January 1st 101.  The first Millennium started on January 1st 1, and ended on 31st December 1000, with the second Millennium starting on January 1st 1001.

Move forwards, and the second Millennium ended on 31st December 2000, the third Millennium starting on January 1st 2001.  The first decade of the 3rd Millennium ran from January 1st 2001 to 31st December 2010.  The second decade runs from 1st January 2011 to 31st December 2020.  The 3rd decade starting on January 1st 2021.

I hope that's now clear.


Karl Greenall said...

Thank you for simply speaking out on this matter, which some would wrongly condemn as arcane.
That the millennium was celebrated a year early puts down a historical marker for future generations,who can then judge just how stupid and narcissistic our politicians were, and go a good way in explaining why they were happy to oversee a period of growing inequality and instabilityand their concomitant social tensions.

Unknown said...

I agree with your counting! But the reality is that many people and institutions group years together into decades based on the tens place value, and centuries based on the hundreds, and millennia based on the thousands place. So people think of eg the 80s as 1980-1989, with 1990 being the first year of a new decade, the 90s. And indeed, the time interval from the start of 1980 to the end of 1989 spans 10 years and therefore constitutes a decade in terms of duration. The interval from eg the start of 2004 to the end of 2013 is also a decade. All this same logic applies roughly to centuries and millennia, though it's admittedly slightly more problematic in the latter case.

At any rate, I prefer marking decades by the tens place--it's easier and cleaner. And this arbitrary choice is overwhelmingly common. So why not embrace it??