You know what’s weird? “Daylight Savings Time” is not the correct name for when we shift our clocks an hour back or forward, but it feels like it’s more commonly said than than the correct version, which is “Daylight Saving Time” (DST).
Did you catch the difference? It should be “Saving,” not “Savings.”
“Saving” is not acting as a verb, which might make you assume some version of an “s” is needed, or maybe you’re just thinking about your savings in the bank, “savings” in that case being the noun form.
“Daylight saving” together makes an adjective phrase modifying “time.” Should there be a hyphen in “daylight saving,” since it’s working together as an adjective? You could make an argument for it (ignoring new AP hyphen rules), but it’s not the standard form. But why am I talking grammar jargon? Let’s get back to the interesting stuff. I hear you. I really do hear you. Who wants to talk grammar jargon?
Daylight Saving Time was first put into action in a small Canadian town in Ontario in 1908, but the first full countries to adopt the system were Austria and Germany in 1916 during World War I. A number of other European countries followed suit—and the U.S. began its own version, dubbed “Fast Time” in 1918—but after the end of the Great War, most countries stopped the practice. During World War II, Daylight Saving Time had a bit more staying power. In 1942, President Roosevelt reintroduced “War Time,” but rather than seasonal adjustments, the newly shifted time system stuck year round, all the way through 1945, which brought the end of the war and thus the introduction of “Peace Time.”
It wasn’t until the Uniform Time Act of 1966 that “Daylight Saving Time,” roughly as we know it today, went into effect—and that, of course is “Saving” not “Savings.”
This “s” or no “s” debate seems to have first arisen in the 1970s, but it’s been a consistent matter of confusion ever since. Here’s the Google Ngram that tracks the use of the two wordings over time:
Twice a year, we’re reminded to change our clocks, and twice a year, people write all about “daylight savings time.”
But not you any longer, savvy time-changer. No longer you.
Join 900+ subscribers and sign-up for my writing and editing email newsletter for more tips like this.