It’s very nearly springtime, and Daylight Saving Time went into effect last weekend. That means everyone is cranky, traffic accidents are up, and folks are asking the evergreen question, “Why do we even have this damned thing?” Supposedly the answer has something to do with wasting less daylight, and saving more of it.
But I’m not going to talk about any of that. I’m here to talk about Daylight Saving Time the name. Lots of Americans call it Daylight Savings Time, not Daylight Saving Time. So many people have said “savings” for so long, in fact, that “Daylight Savings Time” is now considered acceptable in American English. But the whole concept started as “saving” – singular. And that is really the proper spelling, if you think about it.
Why is that? Why is it more correct to say “Daylight Saving Time”? Well, here’s my explanation, a simple way to think about it.
Imagine you’re making hamburgers for supper. You put the hamburger patties on the grill, and after a minute or two they’re done on that side. So it’s time to grab the spatula and flip them. You would say “it’s burger flipping time” and maybe “it’s beer drinking time” as well. You would not say “it’s burger flippings time” or “it’s beer drinkings time”.
Burger Flipping Time is the time when you flip the burger.
Beer Drinking Time is the time when you drink the beer.
Likewise, Daylight Saving Time is the time when you save the daylight.
Now you know.