1. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    Lit, alight, lighted?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by aikoaiko, Nov 22, 2014.

    Argh. I've been staring at this sentence now for the last 20 minutes, and my eyes are starting to cross.:(Can someone tell me what the proper use of 'light' would be in this sentence?

    3 versions of the same sentence:

    --He took a step forward and stopped, eyes alight with astonishment.

    --He took a step forward and stopped, eyes lit with astonishment.

    --He took a step forward and stopped, eyes lighted with astonishment.

    The answer is probably obvious and I am totally grammatically ignorant, but if someone could help me I would appreciate it.

    Thanks!:D
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When in doubt, I usually check the Oxford Dictionary, which tells you the other forms of the verb beneath the infinitive. Here it is for light:
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/light?searchDictCode=all#light-3

    Anyway, it would seem "lit" is the past tense whereas "lit" and "lighted" are the past participle.

    In other words, it would be:

    Light, lit, lit

    Or: Light, lit, lighted

    "Alight" means "to descend" either from a vehicle or like that of a bird. A bird alighted on my arm. Otherwise it could also mean "on fire".

    See here for alight: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/alight?searchDictCode=all
     
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  3. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I'd agree about 'lit', though I would probably go with 'wide'.
     
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  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Wide?
     
  5. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    --He took a step forward and stopped, eyes wide with astonishment.
     
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  6. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    Oh gosh, right! Alight does mean to descend---I don't know why I didn't remember that! :oops::eek: Thanks a ton for the Oxford link, I'll put it onto my favorites. I think 'lighted' might sound the best in this instance, but I'll have to think about it a while longer.

    Thanks again!
     
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  7. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    Thanks, stevesh! I'll go over it both ways.:)
     
  8. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    Actually, it'll probably be 'lit'. LOL.
     
  9. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Oh c'mon.

    alight
    adverb, adjective
    1.
    provided with light; lighted up.
    2.
    on fire; burning.

    Origin
    before 1000; now taken as alight1; orig. past participle of alight to lightup ( Middle English alihten, Old English onlīhtan, equivalent to on a- līhtanto light)

    Alight works as much as lit. Your choice.
     
  10. qp83
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    qp83 Member

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    But is it grammatically correct, then? As alight is an adverb or adjective, while lit is a verb.
     
  11. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Lit is also an adjective.
     

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