Light is making your body earlier/later

  • My suggestions:
    "Light is making your body's clock earlier."
    "Light is setting your body earlier."

    Neither takes up much additional space, and I think using the word "clock" would clarify most people's confusion about both the language use and the science. It takes the "your body is a clock" rationale and makes it transparent.

    I have read through the previous threads on this topic and decided to create a new one because others had either been shut down or turned into very lengthy discussions on the specifics of the science. I recognize the team has been working on this language for a long time, and you may already have heard these suggestions offered, but my take on both my own reading of the language (as an American English speaker, who has personal experience with learning second languages and trying to adjust to their grammar) as well as the comments I've read from other users indicates that some small adjustment like this could prevent much confusion.


    Native English speaker, 30 years, basic grasp of three European languages.

    The verb 'to be' applies to everything that exists. However, the adjective 'late' does not.

    My bus is late. My watch is late. My sleep cycle is late. These are all correct.

    A body however, is not a timed piece of apparatus or a bus or something that typically is regarded as a cyclic object. It just is, and therefore cannot be early or late.

    If it was late to something, fine. It's awful grammar, but "My body is late to the dance" would be okay, yet still horrific English.

    Justathought's suggestion for the new sentence is almost perfect. I'd also consider "Your sleep cycle is becoming later".

    Please, for the love of god, change it.

    Everything about this sentence screams incorrect, unless you assume that everyone that uses the app; (unlike me) is able to associate the fact that the app appears to want to be a sleep cycle planner (which it isn't), it's a goddamn screen dimmer.

  • 20 yrs English teacher here. Essentially, yes to the grammar points above.

    It appears to me we have an idiomatic problem (beyond the mere grammatical construct). But fundamentally there's a semantic problem which leads to surprise and frustration.

    "Light is making your body earlier/later" is not idiomatic bc it doesn't work conceptually as these words are commonly used.

    Light cannot make a human body. And it cannot prevent a human body from moving, so it cannot make a body later. Conversely, it also cannot propel it, so it cannot make a body earlier. Bodies are necessarily 'embodied' things. Light is not embodied.

    Therefore, readers feel confusion bc the concepts can't interact in the way it is written..

    From my reading, there's a conflation of concepts in the statements under question. Bodies have various clocks which can be adjusted differently. But the statement collapses the two concepts into a single word.

    Bodies are not clocks, but have and use various clocks. Clocks can be set earlier or later, slowed, or sped up. There's a lot of variability with clocks. The concept of a body has a different set of variability.

    Therefore, it would add clarity if the statement "... is making your body earlier/later" were changed. As a final note: the progressive form further adds to the confusion, too. In English, it's a terribly awkward form to begin with. Many writers just say to avoid it entirely, if possible.

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