Friday, March 21, 2008

MST, MDT, MT or Mountain Time

I have had an uncommon interest in time zones ever since I developed software to handle them in NetTime. Living in Arizona has added to this. We buck the daylight savings system most states follow in the USA.

So this morning I was prompted by a pet peeve. When referring to a time zone which one is most appropriate to use?
MST (Mountain Standard Time)
MDT (Mountain Daylight Time)
MT (Mountain Time)

Grammar Girl says,
"It seems to me that people often don't even know whether it is standard time or daylight-saving time. It doesn't hurt to use EST or PST, but I've certainly seen people write PST when it is daylight-saving time, so I think it's fine to say just eastern time or Pacific time. It's better to leave off a detail than to get it wrong!"
I agree with grammar girl. If you have the discipline to use CST or CDT accurately, go ahead. Otherwise, you should play it safe. For March 20, 2008, use "The server issue was resolved at approximately 6:30 AM Central Time". Grammar Girl continues to describe a frustration that Arizonans can relate to.
"Also, after living in Arizona and missing enough meetings because of time-zone confusion, I like to spell things out as clearly as possible, so I appreciate it when people say something like "We're meeting at 1:00 p.m. eastern time -- that's 10:00 a.m. your time." (Of course, then you need to make sure you do the conversion right.)"

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