I commonly don’t use an apostrophe with plurals in any kind of situation, but I always assumed that the use of an apostrophe in constructions like acronyms:

Forty BA’s were provided out to students this year.

You are watching: Do you use an apostrophe for years

or numbers:

Though the greatest duration instability arisen during the 1950’s when. . . .

was an ext or much less ok. I would personally usage BAs and 1950s here, but I"ve never ever thought the apostrophe in this situation was necessarily “incorrect”. What speak ye?


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My answer focuses on the header question about decades—which is the question that many readers will most likely expect to uncover answers to here. Through regard to decades expressed in numerals fairly than spelled out in letters, some layout guides introduce omitting one apostrophe, while others recommend consisting of it. Because that example, native The Chicago hand-operated of Style, fifteenth edition (2003):

9.37 Decades. years are one of two people spelled the end (as lengthy as the century is clear) and lowercased or to express in numerals. No apostrophe appears between the year and also the s.

the nineties

the 1980s and also 1990s (or, much less formally, the 1980s and "90s)

The associated Press Stylebook (2002) adopts a ascendancy very comparable to Chicago"s:

decades use Arabic numbers to indicate decades of history. Use an apostrophe to suggest numerals that space left out; display plural by including the letter s: the 1890s, the "90s, the gay "90s, the 1920s, the mid-1930s.

The Oxford guide to Style (2002), while differing v Chicago and AP on capitalizing the spelled-out te name (Oxford University press prefers this) and on making use of abbreviations favor "60s (OUP condemns this), agrees with Chicago the the many numeral form should it is in spelled there is no an apostrophe before the s:

To denote basic ten-year spans OUP format prefers, because that example, 1920s or 1960s come nineteen-twenties or nineteen-sixties. To denote years of a certain character (say, the Roaring Twenties, the Swinging Sixties) OUP prefers twenty or Sixties to "20s or "60s.

But Words into Type, third edition (1974) bring away the the opposite view:

In introduce to decades, the sixties or the 1960"s is generally desired (not "60"s, "60s, 60"s, or 60s; the last kind is used periodically for eras of persons).

The brand-new York Times manual of Style and Usage (1999) agrees v Words into Type around the apostrophe, return about small else:

decades need to usually be provided in numerals: the 1990"s; the mid-1970"s; the 90"s. However when a decade begins a sentence it should be order out. ; regularly that is reason enough to recast the sentence.

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Clearly the inquiry of just how to render a details decade in print is a style issue on i m sorry reasonable layout guides may differ. Follow the one you have to follow, or choose the one you like.