Shouldn't it be "at a saving of" instead of "at a savings of"? "Every time a student drops out of public school, taxpayers save money. That’s one fewer student, at a savings of more than $11,000 per year from state and local sources. " Shouldn't it be "at a saving of" instead of "at a savings of"? What's with the "s" if the article "a" is used?
Dec 10, 2016 4:35 PM
Answers · 12
Perhaps logically it should be, but it isn't. It's a set phrase. You'll hear/read "at a savings of" many places, usually advertisements.
December 10, 2016
It should be a saving of. (According to some people, in some places, some of the time - you can tell I don't want to get into an argument over this!!!!) However, I think we get used to hearing certain combinations of sounds, and 'savings' (in the plural) is common in many phrases. "Savings accounts (in a bank)," "a savings buffer," "your savings," and "with savings of only a few dollars you can....." So we hear "savings of" a lot in other situations and phrases. And it then creeps into phrases and expressions where it probably shouldn't be! I did a little googling on this one and apparently 57% of people feel that "a savings of" is incorrect. (Found in The American Heritage Book of English Usage) A saving of.... is the winner... by a whisker!
December 10, 2016
To the part of native-U.S.-English brain that analyzes logic, you are correct, but the part that speaks U.S. English insists that "savings" feels right and "saving" feels wrong. The best reason I can come up with is that accumulations of money are "savings" even though you accumulate them by "saving." Perhaps that is because the accumulation (usually!) consists of "dollars," plural. It feels like a parallel to "potato peelings" or "iron filings" or "snowflakes." All of them are indefinite large masses that we nevertheless recognize as consisting of separate things. I feel OK saying a company "earns profits" or "earns a profit." I feel OK saying a company "had losses of $234 million" or also "had a loss of $234 million." Search of (mostly print books from before 1923) shows 53 hits on "savings of," and virtually all of them concern money: "...the proceeds from the Duchy of Lancaster, which were more than £60,000 a year, the savings of the Prince Consort..." " heap the earnings and savings of his life..." "...a purse, containing the savings of months..." "...the savings of her lifetime were burning,--that there was over three thousand dollars in the box..." It shows 243 for "saving of," but the context is usually not money and not numeric: " immense saving of labour and time..." "...These advantages consist indeed wholly in saving of cost of carriage..." "...such arrangement would effect a great saving of water..." "...the great saving of fuel and labour in the management of the engine...." "...the saving of wear and tear..." I will defy the 57% and say that when the thing being saved is money, and the amount is quoted as an actual known number of dollars or pounds, I prefer the word "savings."
December 11, 2016
You are correct!
December 10, 2016
The NY Times rarely makes a grammatical error.
December 10, 2016
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