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Table of contents Chapter 19 19.4 Centuries and decades

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Chapter 19: Date and Time

  19.4 Expressions of time in centuries and decades

  Quite often you'll find expressions like this

El siglo veinte era la época de las guerras y de la estupidez.
Adorno formuló la frase: La historia es una máquina infernal.
= The 20th century was the era of wars and of stupidity.
Adorno formulated the phrase: The history is an infernal machine.


Parece que en el siglo veintiuno (vigésimo primero) la humanidad se vuelve razonable. Con un poco de suerte será la época de las Naciones Unidas.
= In the 21st century, it seems that man kind became reasonable. With a bit of luck it will be the era of the UN.

En los años sesenta y setenta se puso de moda la música rock.
= In the sixties and seventies rock music became fashion.

Here we have something rather absurd if you think about it. With the centuries we count the upper limit, with the decades we count the lower limit. However, it is probably better not to think about it since it is the same in Spanish and in English.

  Examples
el siglo veinte
= the 22nd century
el siglo diecinueve
= the 19th century
El siglo veinte era la época de la barbaridad.
= The 20th century was the barbaric era.
Los años noventa no eran tan espectaculares como los años sesenta o setenta.
= The nineties were not as spectacular as the sixties or the seventies.
La expresión "los dorados años veinte" es engañosa.
= The expression "the golden twenties" is deceiving.

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