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Example:

In the second example using the char pointer, we still have the string constant, requiring 5 bytes of storage, but we do not have to reserve another 5 bytes of storage for an array to which this constant can be copied. There is no char array. Therefore, the string data storage requirements of this program are half that of the previous program. Of course, the pointer itself requires 2 bytes of storage, but this still represents a savings of 3 bytes.

Do you think that kind of usage of the word savings is grammatically correct? If you try and look up the word savings in the dictionary, nowhere will there be a mention that savings can be used as a singular noun. What gives?

  • I think it trickles into written language from colloquial use. "How does one say that we're reduce the amount of memory spent on something?" -- "Use the word savings somehow, duh", and then the writer/speaker associates each act of saving something (money, memory, time) with that word... – Victor Bazarov Aug 21 '15 at 16:23
  • IOW, "a savings of ..." = "a single act of saving ..." – Victor Bazarov Aug 21 '15 at 16:24
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    To say that they are using 'savings' as a singular noun is a bit of a misnomer. It is still acting as a verb. It is describing that a savings or reduction in use of memory was in the amount of 3 bytes. I think it is simply a more efficient way to say "but this still represents less utilization of memory in the amount of 3 bytes" – BrownRedHawk Aug 21 '15 at 16:47
  • Uhm... "but this still represents less utilization of memory" is not grammatical. The verb 'represents' needs a direct object. In your text, 'utilization' seems to be that object. You are allowed to define it with an adjective, but not with an adverb ("less" is no longer in use as an adjective, methinks). Did you mean something like "smaller" or "frugal", maybe? – Victor Bazarov Aug 21 '15 at 17:40
  • @VictorBazarov Less, is a quantifier and may be employed as a determiner: George has less money than Martha. – StoneyB Aug 21 '15 at 17:52
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Savings as subject of a singular verb is very common in US English; you will find it, for instance, in the online Collins if you select 'American English':

  1. ([often pl., with sing. v.]) any reduction in expense, time, labor, etc. ⇒ a saving( s) of 10% is effected
  • I accept the dictionary authority of its use in American English, but in British English "a savings of 10%" looks semi-literate. In BrE "savings" can be used as an adjectival noun, for example in "a savings account", i.e. a bank account that pays interest on the money deposited, and may have restrictions on withdrawing money on demand etc, as opposed to "a current account" which does not pay interest and has no restrictions. – alephzero Aug 23 '15 at 15:16

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