The suggestion for today’s grammar post comes by way of frequent Beyond the Rhetoric visitor Ray Ebersole. He’s noticed that people seem to spell it a million different ways, so what is the right way to refer to our changing of the clocks? It may not be observed everywhere around the world (and not even in every American state either, from what I recall), but it is observed by many places.
In an absolutely official sense, we are supposed to call it Daylight Saving Time (DST). The word “saving” in the term is acting as part of an adjective rather than as a verb. We are referring to this period as a time during which there is daylight saving. This is similar to when you say Craig is an easygoing person. He is a person who is easygoing.
However, many media outlets, reporters, and other “official” sources refer to it as Daylight Savings Time or Daylight-Savings Time (with a hyphen). This is because it is implied that we are “saving” time, metaphorically storing it away in a “daylight” bank. That’s why Daylight Saving(s) Time starts in the spring (“spring ahead”) and ends in the fall (“fall behind”). The daylight we “save” during the summer is then “withdrawn” in the winter, so to speak.
While it is not technically correct to say Daylight Savings Time, it’s not really something that is an issue with me. I still cringe when people say that they could care less or when someone talks about something happening ever so often (when they really mean to say “every so often”), but Daylight Savings Time doesn’t really bother me.
You know, aside from the somewhat dated practice itself. It just seems like a largely unnecessary hassle in the modern age, but I’ll leave that debate for another day and another time. And for the record, Daylight Saving’s Time (with the apostrophe) is never correct.