Spring Forward, Fall Back[1]

Each spring and each fall of the year we hear people repeat this quotation2.  It is especially true on the TV news, as the commentators3 are trying to remind the listening audience4 to change the time on their clocks on a Saturday night early in April or a late in October.  In the spring we move our clocks ahead an hour5, and in the fall the reverse6 is true. 


The period during the spring and summer when we have changed our clocks ahead is referred to7 as Daylight Saving Time8 because we believe that we have more daylight hours in which to enjoy outdoor activities and we believe that we use less electricity during this time.  In fact, it was established during the World War II. as a way to economize9 on the use of electricity.  After the war ended, the nation went back to what is know as “Standard10 time and since then has gone back and forth.


There are mixed feelings11 about changing the time as we do.  When I first moved to Iowa, the U.S. congress decided to institute12 it again.  I was quite amused by the attitude of some of the farmers in our area.  They were against Daylight Saving time, saying that their cows probably wouldn’t produce milk13 if the time were changed.  Of course, this didn’t prove to be so at all, but the arguments continued.  Last week there were articles in the newspapers telling us that the change in time forward really isn’t energy saving14 after all because during the long warm afternoons we use our air conditioners more.  I must admit that our electricity bill15 shows this is true for us.  Still, we enjoy having the extra16 daylight hour during the summer evenings.  When autumn (fall) comes and we set our clocks back to the standard time, we will complain about the dark evenings and wish for that extra hour of daylight that we are enjoying now.


The U.S. has five major time zones17, Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific and Alaskan.  Our state of Iowa is in the Central zone.  The time zones were established in the 1880’s when the government saw a need for standardizing18 time for the railroads as the trains traveled across the country.  Most citizens have been content with the time zones, whether they like the Daylight Saving Time or not. 


Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for our bodies to get used to19 the one hour change.  We “Sprang forward.20  We changed our clocks three nights ago and I think I’m ok with it by now.   However, I haven’t heard about the cows at the nearby farms.



1. Spring Forward, Fall Back: 这是用来帮助人们记住夏时制如何拨钟的,即春天往前拨,秋天往后拨。
2. quotation: a series of words commonly recognized (引文,引语).
3. commentators: persons presenting and making remarks about the TV news items (解说员,指在电视、电台做实况报道的人员).
4. audience: a group of people listening or observing an activity (听众,观众).
5. move our clocks ahead an hour: move the hands of a timepiece one hour beyond the present hour indicated (把钟拨快一小时).
6. the reverse: the exact opposite of what has just been mentioned (相反的状况). It means “in fall we move our clock  back an hour”. 
7. referred to: called or named (称作).
8. Daylight Saving Time: period of the year during which the time on clocks is advanced one hour (夏时制,日光节约时制).
9. economize: reduce cost or expenses (节省).
10. Standard time: the portion of the year when clocks are turned back one hour after Daylight Saving Time ends (标准时间).
11. mixed feelings: of varied opinions or emotions (忧喜参半,不同的心情).
12. institute: establish, or put into effect (设立,启动).
13. wouldn’t produce milk: would fail to make milk because of the change in their daily routine (不产奶).
14. energy saving: causing a reduction in the use of electrical energy (节约能源).
15. electricity bill: the printed charges for electrical use given to a consumer by the provider of the electricity (电费单).
16. extra: additional or added to (额外的).
17. time zones: horizontal bands within geographical areas, each band having the same hour for time of day (时区).
18. standardizing: making the same; or of the same time or other measurements (使标准化).
19. get used to: becoming accustomed or habituated to a given schedule or time (习惯于).
20. “sprang forward”: “Spring”既可以表示“春天”也可以作动词表示“跳跃”,作者表示(我们)已经提前拨钟了。

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