Assume that A and B are two systems. For example A consumes 3unit and B consumes 4unit of the energy. Now we know to A saves 0.25% in energy consumption than B.I want to draw a diagram and want to type on the y axis. I would like to which of these is correct:

  1. . . . the energy saving ratio of A to B . . .
  2. . . . the energy saving ratio of A than B . . .
  3. . . . the energy savings ratio of A to B . . .
  4. . . . the energy savings ratio of A than B . . .
  5. . . .. or?
  • 1
    Being unsure exactly what you mean, my best guess is that you probably want to say: the energy savings of system A as compared to system B. – Damkerng T. Dec 17 '13 at 22:09
  • Yes. I want to it. "the energy savings" s is required? – Finder Dec 17 '13 at 22:12
  • 2
    I would say "the energy savings of A over B". – Tyler James Young Dec 17 '13 at 22:13
  • 1
    @Finder Energy savings ratio, plural. "Energy saving ratio" would be a ratio which saves energy! :) ... and you will need to define the ratio at least in the text, if not on the diagram. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 17 '13 at 23:48
  • 1
    Finder, you really should provide much more context in future questions. When all you give us is a snippet – not even a full sentence! – it will be very hard to give an accurate answer. And clarifications should be made by editing your question, rather than by leaving a comment. No one, upon coming across your question for the first time, should have to read through an entire conversation below it just to figure out what you are asking about. More info available here. – J.R. Dec 18 '13 at 10:14

Given a sufficiently convoluted context, I suppose it's at least remotely possible that some of your phrases could be correct. However, if we assume a normal, everyday context, I have to say none of your phrases are correct, because none of them make sense.

I think what you're trying to say is something like

the energy savings of using A instead of B

You could shorten it to

the energy savings of A vs. B

but in that case, it's not clear which system is more energy-efficient. (Using "over" instead of "vs.", as Tyler James Young suggested in the comments, would help clarify it.)

Note that the phrase is definitely "energy savings", i.e. yes, you need that s on the end.


The headline question asks about the difference between singular and plural energy saving, but I'll just say straight away that the rest of the sentence isn't well-constructed. It would be more "correct" to say something like..

the energy saving(s) [ratio] of A compared to B

In OP's exact context, energy saving(s) is effectively a noun phrase being used adjectivally (i.e. - the ratio under consideration is calculated from the two different values of energy saving(s) for A and B).

I've put [ratio] in square brackets in my rephrasing because it's superfluous verbiage. I'd also point out that if A uses 3 units of energy where B uses 4, that means A saves 25% relative to B (not 0.25%).

Turning to the general case of singular/plural energy savings, you might like to look at Pluralization of savings and costs as asked previously on ELU. In OP's context I think either form is valid, and it's really stretching a point to suggest they actually mean different things.

But I do think there's a potential tiny difference based on the fact that plural savings is more associated with money put by for the future (i.e. - not spent). So you could say that using the plural places more emphasis on the reduced monetary cost for whoever pays the electricity bill, if they use A rather than B.

Conversely, if saving is given in the singular, this slightly places the emphasis on the total amount of energy that's not used, if people in general adopt A instead of B.

Thus there's (not much, but some) justification for saying that savings is more likely in an appeal to people's financial self-interest, as opposed to saving the planetary ecology (by us all using less energy).

  • +1, but I can't get behind singular "saving" as a noun. – Tyler James Young Dec 18 '13 at 18:29
  • @Tyler: Whyever not? Here are thousands of written instances of yields a saving of {some amount, percentage, or whatever}, for example. Obviously that's a "noun usage". – FumbleFingers Dec 18 '13 at 18:47
  • It just sounds wrong to me in this instance. I've never heard someone say “a saving of [x]”. Seeing it now, it strikes me as poetic or out of date. – Tyler James Young Dec 19 '13 at 15:15
  • @Tyler: I think your graph just reflects an increase over recent decades (particularly in the US) of plural savings = money put by for the future (i.e. - not spent), as mentioned in my answer. But as I also pointed out, OP's usage is effectively a noun phrase being used adjectivally. That's the same usage as an energy saving design, which gets 1370 hits in Google Books, compared to just two for an energy savings design. – FumbleFingers Dec 19 '13 at 16:44
  • If it is the same usage as “energy saving design” then you have the problem StoneyB brought up, which is that the construction makes it look like a ratio is doing the saving of the energy (just like the design would in your example). – Tyler James Young Dec 19 '13 at 16:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.