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Friday, December 21, 2012

Grammar Hammer: Are Your Trees Lit or Lighted? | Catherine Spicer, Beyond PR

Here's a question of word usage that likely comes up in this light-hearted time of year in some homes and businesses.

Spicer writes:
Grammatically speaking, either word is correct because both words are past tense verbs and interchangeable as past participles. I hate to say it, but in most cases, it’s really going to come down to what sounds best to you.
But check my advice too (below). Referring to another writing site, she notes:
According to Grammarist, lit is favored for both uses outside the U.S.. Lighted is usually used as an adjective, while lit is more often a verb. ...
I think Spicer means in the United States when she adds:
Currently, we’re favoring lit over lighted.
Here's somewhat similar advice in my online editorial style manual:
lighted, lit Both lighted and lit are acceptable as past-tense verbs, though lit is more often used: The mourners lighted 100 candles for the vigil. The mourners lit 100 candles for the vigil. Lighted is preferred for the adjective form: The intersection is well-lighted. A well-lighted intersection. A lighted candle.
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