Mnemonic: It’s and Its

“His”, “Hers” and “Its” have no apostrophe.

“He’s”, “She’s” and “It’s” do.

So to help decide where to put the apostrophe, personify the pronoun. If you have a sentence like “It’s going to shed its skin”, use “He’s going to shed his skin”. It’s best to use the male form to keep the trailing “s”, because “Hers” is incorrect in places where “Her” should be used instead.

Using an apostrophe to save the effort of writing a little “i” hardly seems worth all the confusion. But that’s the way it is.

Mnemonic: Daylight Saving Time

March two forward; Knock one back.

DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November, which leads to the “two” and the “one” in my phrase. “Knock” is a strained mnemonic for November but its the best I can come up with. It’s also reminiscent of Halloween, and the first Sunday in November also happens to be the first Sunday after Halloween. Unfortunately, these start and end times may change someday; they’ve only been in effect since 2007.

As far as remembering if we’re actually changing to DST or from DST, two thoughts should help. The first is that the the old phrase “Spring Forward; Fall Back”, and my new one, are both analogous to DST’s start and end. Spring, or March, is when it starts, Fall, or November, is when it ends.

The second thought is that the name is misleading, since you’d think you’d be “saving” daylight when you don’t have much, like in the winter. In fact, the idea isn’t to save daylight when it’s scarce, but to avoid wasting it when it’s plentiful. We change our clocks in order to wake up earlier with the earlier sunrise. We should have called it “Daylight Using Time”, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a blog back then, so the misleading name stuck.

And remember, it’s “Saving”, not “Savings”.