The Past Tense of Light: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

Have you ever got stuck on the correct past tense of the word light in English grammar? This article will explain the conjugations of the word light and also define light and give you all the information you need about the word and how to use it properly within the English language. 

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What Is the Definition of the Word Light?

The word light is defined as:

Adjective light

  • having light or illumination; bright; well-lighted:
    • the lightest room in the entire house.
  • pale, whitish, or not deep or dark in color:
    • a light blue.
  • (of coffee or tea) containing enough milk or cream to produce a light color.

Transitive form of the verb light

  • to set burning, as a candle, lamp, fire, match, or cigarette; kindle; ignite.
  • to turn or switch on (an electric light):
    • One flick of the master switch lights all the lamps in the room.
  • to give light to; furnish with light or illumination:
    • The room is lit by two large chandeliers.
  • to make (an area or object) bright with or as if with light (often followed by up):
    • Hundreds of candles lit up the ballroom.
  • to cause (the face, surroundings, etc.) to brighten, especially with joy, animation, or the like (often followed by up):
    • A smile lit up her face. Her presence lit up the room.
  • to guide or conduct with a light:
    • a candle to light you to bed.

Intransitive form of the verb

  • to get down or descend, as from a horse or a vehicle:
    • As she lighted, the journalists began shouting questions at her.
  • to come to rest, as on a spot or thing; fall or settle upon; land:
    • The bird lighted on the branch. My eye lighted on some friends in the crowd.
  • to come by chance; happen; hit (usually followed by on or upon):
    • to light on a clue; to light on an ideal picnic spot.
  • to fall, as a stroke, weapon, vengeance, or choice, on a place or person:
    • The choice lighted upon our candidate.


  • something that makes things visible or affords illumination:
    • All colors depend on light.
  • Physics.
  • the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of sight.
  • an illuminating agent or source, as the sun, a lamp, or a beacon.
  • the radiance or illumination from a particular source:
    • the light of a candle.
  • the illumination from the sun; daylight:
    • We awoke at the first light.
  • daybreak or dawn:
    • when light appeared in the east.
  • Daytime:
    • Summer has more hours of light.
  • a particular light or illumination in which an object seen takes on a certain appearance:
    • viewing the portrait in dim light.
  • a device for or means of igniting, as a spark, flame, or match:
    • Could you give me a light?

What Is the Past Tense of Light?

The past tense of the word light is lit. 

An example of present and past tense:

Present – Can you light the candles?

Past – I lit the birthday candles with a match.

How Do You Conjugate Light?

Here are some verb conjugations of the English verb light including the present tense forms and the acceptable past tense forms, note that this is an irregular verb:

Infinitive: to light

Past participle: lit

Simple past tense: lit

Present participle/gerund: lighting 

PresentSimple, PastFuture
I lightlightAm lighting
You lightlightAre lighting
He/she/it lightslightIs lighting
We lightlightAre lighting
They lightlightAre lighting

The History and Origin of the Word

The first time that it was recorded in history was before the year 900 A.D. In Middle English and Old English it was spelled “lēoht”. 

Examples of the Word in Context

The sample shrinks into a package of molecules that scientists target with a laser beam, generating a light signal that allows them to detect the frequency of the coronavirus.


Next time you need to write the word light, you will be well prepared for everything you need to know what it is and how to use it efficiently in American English or British English. You should feel confident with the different conjugations, the history of the word, and the definition.