At the beginning of every year you’re faced with a dilemma. I know you are.
- Whether to give up chocolate and finally get fit? No, not that dilemma.
- Whether to book yourself onto that 12-step recovery programme and emerge from your Christmas-to-New Year’s drug hell? Not, not that one, either.
You have a much more important and stress-inducing dilemma. That is, do I write 2009 AD or 2009 A.D.?
Well, I have good news for you…
Both are okay!
"AD" comes, as you probably know, from the Christian "Gregorian" calendar. It stands for "Anno Domini", which is Latin for "in the year of our/the Lord". Its companion is "BC" (or "B.C."; both are acceptable), which, confusingly, is not Latin. BC stands for "Before Christ".
It’s quite possible that both abbreviations will be replaced in time by the non-religious "CE" (for "Common Era" and "BCE" (for "Before Common Era") respectively. CE and BCE were introduced several hundred years ago and their dates correspond to those of the Gregorian calendar. Their only — but significant — difference is that they make no reference to Christianity, merely acting as non-religious markers of the date.
So now you know what to do come next January 1: whatever you want! 2009 AD? Fine! 2009 A.D.? Knock yourself out! 2009 CE, even? Why not!
London Marathon 2009 Update: I’m running the London Marathon in April 2009 — or in other words, Dan’s Shockingly Super Run 4 Glory 2009 — to raise money for maggie’s, a cancer caring charity, inspired by my cousin Teresa. If you find this blog in any way useful, please think about donating a small sum — a pound would be just fine — to the appeal on the Run 4 Glory link.