A broken light bulb

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Super Saiyan

Senior Member
Cantonese
Hi, everyone, there’s a light hanging from the ceiling. One of the light bulbs isn’t working. Can we say, ‘the light bulb is broken, I need to change it’

The surface of the light bulb is complete, not ‘broken’ into pieces or rigged.

I checked Webster online, broken can mean ‘not working properly’, cambridge amd oxford dont mention the meaning used in Webster. So I’m wondering whether it’s only for American speakers. Or for my situation, I just used it wrong? How should I say it? Thanks
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    In BE we commonly say: the lightbulb has gone (meaning no longer working); or 'one lightbulb has blown (meaning the element inside it no longer works).

    But, 'the lightbulb is broken' would be perfectly well understood, and some people might say it. It does imply smashed to pieces, though.
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Thanks guys. I hope people from the States can tell me whether broken in my case doesnt carry the meaning of being smashed into pieces.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Thanks guys. I hope people from the States can tell me whether broken in my case doesnt carry the meaning of being smashed into pieces.
    I afraid it does.
    Light bulbs "burn out" when they stop working in the usual way. To be broken, would mean they were either defective or physically damaged.
    "Burning out" is part of the way they work. They are not broken - they have ceased to operate in the manner that is part of their nature.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    A "broken" lightbulb has pieces of glass scattered about. A light bulb that is "not working" maybe looks fine but doesn't put out any light.

    Broken can mean "not working" in some contexts but not all.

    It's usually safest to just say "not working". In the case of a light bulb, there is the specific phrase "burnt out". That would not apply to a washing machine.
     
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