Many people make mistakes when shortening decades. Take a look at the following extract. Do you spot anything wrong with the way the year is written?

“Following the video game crash in the early 80’s, the industry was revived in the U.S. by Nintendo with its 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).”

Where apostrophes should go when shortening words is often a little tricky, and a quick web search will give all manner of positions. Let’s look at the correct position for shortening decades. The correct version of the extract above should be:

 “Following the video game crash in the early ‘80s, the industry was revived in the U.S. by Nintendo with its 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).”

The complete word “eighties” is a plural not a possessive so that rules out 80’s. Also, the apostrophe is there to show something has been removed (in this case “19”) so that rules out 80s.

So that means the only option left is: ’80s.

Of course, the rule applies to shortening any decade.

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