years – Use figures, without commas: 2020. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas: Oct. 8, 2025, is the target date. Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 1980s, the 1900s. Years are the lone exception to the general rule of not starting sentences with numerals: 1971 was a very good year. If a date appears in body copy, it is not necessary to indicate the year if it is the same as the current year.