3/09/2008

Save the excuses; it's daylight-saving time

Mr. Rewrite no longer lives in a state observing daylight-saving time, which ended today. That's the only reason he can imagine for letting this day arrive without a friendly reminder that it isn't daylight-savings time, at least if you want to be consistent with the major usage guides.

Pretty much any dictionary today will let you get away with daylight-savings time, but the real point is saving daylight. That explains the phrasal adjective (always hyphenated) in daylight-saving time. The AP Stylebook calls for daylight-saving time. Most other usage guides call for saving, though Bryan A. Garner (cue angelic chorus) notes that daylight-savings time is an oft-repeated miscue that's become standard except in the realm of those paid to know better.

Speaking of those paid to know better, a third of the articles indexed by Google News go with daylight-savings time. Mr. Rewrite considers those errors, since most media outlets are bound by AP style. The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage requires daylight-saving time as the full form but makes things easier by preferring daylight time.

Here's what's accumulated in Mr. Rewrite's virtual mailbox this week ...

1) This publisher's column explains difference between proofreaders and copy editors and why the latter are so valuable to newspapers.

2) A columnist responding to a reader's concern discusses why the word fraught is being pulled away from its roots as an adjective accompanied by "with."

3) Another misspelled road sign makes news, this one in Massachusetts (Pilmoth rather than Plimoth). 

4) A city council candidate in Australia gets some press after his party misspells his name Feagon rather than Feagan on a billboard. Paint brush in hand, he corrects the error.

5) Across the pond, an inquest points to the incorrect spelling of a prisoner's name as contributing to his jailhouse suicide. Correct spelling in the computer system, it says, would have turned up evidence that the prisoner might harm himself.

6) An editor addresses readers about the importance of catching grammar errors and about her newspaper's efforts to do so.

7) A column by The Florida Times-Union's reader advocate runs through grammar, spelling and proper noun errors spotted by eagle-eyed news consumers.


No comments: