In English 1886 would be pronounced "eighteen-eighty six." In Spanish, is there something similar? Or do people outright say:

El año mil ochocientos ochenta y seis

  • 3
    We say mil ochocientos ochenta y seis
    – Laura
    Jun 19, 2012 at 6:39
  • The only shortening of years I have ever heard were simply a decade as in "the 80's" would be "las ochentas"
    – Joseph
    Dec 17, 2012 at 19:07
  • @joseph4tw, I've never heard las ochentas. The only way I've ever heard it is los ochenta (masculine and number sans s). Jul 25, 2014 at 7:25
  • @guifa apologies, I meant to write "los ochentas." And as I said, I have heard it said that way. I never learned this in any academic context, so this way of saying it might be limited to a Colombian way of expressing "the 80s." When you herad it as los ochenta (singularity seems to be the only difference), is it based on any academia? Or maybe from a particular country/region?
    – Joseph
    Jul 26, 2014 at 3:03
  • @joseph4tw I interact with academics from all over, and haven't heard it pluralized, but it's certainly possible in some regions that it is. But the DPD in its entry for década gives los años ochenta, la década de ochenta and la década del ochenta for what the English the eighties, but specifically recommends against any plural form of the multiple of ten. Jul 26, 2014 at 5:22

3 Answers 3


Yes, in Spanish there is generally no way to abbreviate the years. The only time it is used is referring to the years in the XX century. Example:

Do you remember that concert back in eighty-nine?

Recuerdas ese concierto en el ochenta y nueve?

Other than in that case, the full year is pronounced. Even for this century's years.

Do you remember that concert in two thousand and five?

Recuerdas ese concierto en el dos mil cinco?

  • The question is not about abbreviations in years, but saying years.
    – JoulSauron
    Jun 19, 2012 at 11:21
  • Yes, I understood that. In my answer I was also talking about the way to say it verbally ;)
    – Rorok_89
    Jun 19, 2012 at 15:06
  • @JoulSauron: "Nineteen ninety-eight" and "Two thousand four" are verbal abbreviations in English. The question is asking if this is possible in Spanish.
    – Flimzy
    Jun 21, 2012 at 4:35
  • @Flimzy I've always thought that they were the actual ways of saying years. Do you mean then that pronouncing the whole number in a year is correct?
    – JoulSauron
    Jun 23, 2012 at 17:50
  • @JoulSauron: The longer forms are correct, too. For example "Nineteen hundred and ninety-eight." We do the same thing with addresses. The address "1998 Somestreet" could be "Nineteen ninety-eight somestreet," "Nineteen hundred ninety-eight Somestreet" or "One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight Somestreet." The last form is rarely, if ever, used with years in modern writing or speech, though.
    – Flimzy
    Jun 23, 2012 at 18:25

In Puerto Rico, we use a short form like "mil ocho ochenta y seis"

  • 2
    Also in Argentina - but only coloquially
    – leonbloy
    Jun 22, 2012 at 18:44

The way to say years is the same as it would be a normal number, there is no distinction whether the number is a quantity or a year. So you are right with your example:

El año 1886.

El año mil ochocientos ochenta y seis.

  • 2
    That's right. I've also heard argentinians saying 'mil ocho ochenta y seis', but I'm not sure how common this pronunciation is.
    – cgc
    Jun 19, 2012 at 13:13
  • 2
    Just for completeness' sake I will add that in Spanish there is no "shortcut" to say numbers larger than 1000. For example: 1200 can be "one thousand two hundred" or "twelve hundred". There is no such thing in Spanish. That number, as a year or as a number, will always be "mil doscientos". Jun 19, 2012 at 14:43

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