Do “Lights Go Out” or do “Lights Go Off”?
We want to know which form is correct and if one of them should be avoided. We also want to know if they have the same meaning and can be used just the same? Let’s look into this.
Both “Lights Go Out” and “Lights Go Off” are idiomatic phrases and can be used to indicate the electricity has disconnected. “Lights Go Out” is from the time when electricity wasn’t accessible but remains correct. “Lights Go Off” is connected to the idea of switching the light on and off.
Take a look at some examples:
- Why did the light go out?
- Why did the light go off?
- I’m worried about the storm, that the lights will go out.
- I’m worried about the storm, that the lights will go off.
As you can see by the examples, “Lights Go Out” and “Lights Go Off” are synonyms and can interchange, without harming the message the sentences intend to convey. You can choose to use the one you prefer, and rest assured you’ll be understood.
“Light Goes Out” is an older expression we continue to use until this day. Before electricity became common, people would have light by using candles, gas lamps, or some alternative to that – those devices would go out, eventually. That originated the phrase “Light Goes Out”, which we continue to use.
Let’s go over some examples:
- The light went out suddenly last night.
- Do you have a flashlight in case the lights go out?
- Does this light go out often? I hate being in the dark.
- Next time this light goes out suddenly, you should replace it.
- Did the light go out?
- The lights went out in the middle of the horror story.
Keep in mind that “Light Goes Out” usually refers to the light disconnecting, but not necessarily that someone went to the switch and turned it off.
Also, it’s important to point out that although this is an older expression, that originated a long time ago, it’s not by any means an obsolete one. People continue to use it and it continues to make sense.
The expression “Light Goes Off” came about when electricity became more accessible and people started to turn things on and off, using a switch. It’s grammatically correct to say that “Light Goes Off” because you can turn it on and off, as well as it can connect and disconnect.
Take a look at some examples:
- All the lights in the room went off, suddenly.
- Please, turn the light off when you get home.
- The light and power went off during the storm.
- What will we do if the light goes off during the storm?
- The light in Casey’s room went off randomly.
- I hate when the lights go off during winter, because it gets dark and cold.
Both “Light Goes Off” and “Light Goes Out” are correct and acceptable. You can choose the phrase you like best, or the one you feel more comfortable with to use. Despite of which you choose to incorporate to your vocabulary, you’ll be fine.
When talking about lights, which of those forms is used more often, “Go Out” or “Go Off”? Let’s take a look at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below to find out.
Although “Light Goes Out” is an older expression to describe lights being disconnected, it’s definitely not an obsolete one. As we can see in the graph, “Light Goes Out” appears much more frequently than “Lights Go Off” – which is a more modern way to say the same thing.
It’s clear that “Light Go Off” has been constantly increasing in use, since 1920 (as electricity became more accessible), but not enough to take the “Light Goes Out” spot as the preferred one all around.
“Lights Go Out” and “Lights Go Off” are synonyms. Both phrases are grammatically correct and can be used to indicate that the lights somewhere have been disconnected. They also can interchange, with no harm to the meaning of your sentence.