At 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, Daylight Saving Time ends in those parts of North America that observe it, and Standard Time begins. (In the European Union, the changeover happens at 1:00 a.m. GMT.) I've always greeted this autumnal transition as the perfect holiday: I get to spend an extra hour in bed, and by reveille the sun has already risen. (Afternoon darkness doesn't bother me nearly as much as morning gloom.) It grieves me that among the current White House occupant's lesser offenses is his signing of a bill that will extend Daylight Saving Time by about four weeks beginning in 2007. How about extending the minimum wage by a couple of bucks instead?
But I digress. I'm writing about the fall-back ritual (that would be "autumn-back" in the UK, which makes no sense at all) because Eric Bakovic at Language Log talks at some length about the proper nomenclature: is it Daylight Saving or Daylight Savings? Most of us choose the latter, but according to WebExhibits the "official spelling" is the singular form. Bakovic argues, with the help of some scholarly-looking diagrams, that "savings" is more appropriate:
The issue, I think, is this: the word saving, like other -ing participles, is not commonly used as a noun, but the word savings is. This is especially true in the context of money, and there's a well-known metaphorical link between money and time (see this page for some discussion; search for "time is money"). So, at least for "many people", the most accessible relevant noun is savings, not saving. The reasoning that Saving here is a "verbal adjective" is just hooey.
By the way, if you've ever wondered what happens at hour-back time in restaurants and bars where liquor can't be served after 2:00 a.m., WebExhibits has the answer on this page.