Wednesday, May 30, 2012

decade names: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

decade names
There’s no requirement for the apostrophe before the S in decade names like 50s and 60s, since there are no omitted letters, though it’s also acceptable to include one. The term may be written “’50s” since “19” is being omitted, but “50s” is fine too. Writers who wish to have their references to decades clearly understood in the 21st century would be well advised not to omit the first two digits.

Note that you may have to turn off “smart quotes” in your word processor to get a leading apostrophe like the one in “’50s” to curl correctly unless you know how to type the character directly. Or you can just type two apostrophes in a row and delete the first one.

Read the Common Errors in English Usage blog, including the latest post on an error not quite common enough to be featured on the main site.

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