Lighten/Brighten/Illuminate?

sambistapt

Senior Member
Brazilian Portuguese
Hello amigos!:)

The rays of the sun lightened/brightened/illuminate the dark room.

My wife lightened/brightened/illuminated my life from the day I met her.

In the samples above, What word fits better? Can they be employed interchangeably as well?

Thanks in advance,

Sam:cool:
 
  • The Scrivener

    Banned
    England. English
    Hello amigos!:)

    The rays of the sun lightened/brightened/illuminated the dark room.

    My wife lightened/brightened/illuminated my life from the day I met her.

    In the samples above, What word fits better? Can they be employed interchangeably as well?

    Thanks in advance,

    Sam:cool:
    Hi Sam,

    The rays of the sun brightened the dark room. (All three verbs interchangeable.)

    My wife lightened my life from the day I met her. (Here I am thinking of the song, "You light up my life.") You could also use brightened, but not "illuminated".
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Lighten has two meanings. One has to do with color and may apply to the room; the other has to do with aleviating a load and may apply to my life.

    Brighten means to make bright or at least less dark, so it could fit either sentence.

    Illuminate means to cast light on. It fits the dark room, which would of course no longer be totally dark. With my life, it seems to bring up a different metaphor in my mind than "light up". To me, "illuminated my life" means showed me (or others) the truth about my life or the true nature of my life.
     

    Blues Piano Man

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hello amigos!:)

    The rays of the sun lightened/brightened/illuminate the dark room.

    My wife lightened/brightened/illuminated my life from the day I met her.

    In the samples above, What word fits better? Can they be employed interchangeably as well?

    Thanks in advance,

    Sam:cool:
    I think the following choice would be by far the most common:
    "My wife lighted up my life from the day I met her."

    The meaning is that your wife made you cheerful, happy. If you must choose one of the original choices, I think "brighten" is the only one with a similar meaning.
     

    Cristina Allende

    Senior Member
    US, English
    In the first sentence, "to lighten" to me implies that it was already a little bit light, but now it is more light. Brighten and illuminate sound really good in the first sentence, but lighten doesn't sound quite right.

    In the second sentence, I would use brighten more often than lighten. I would not use illuminate unless I meant that she literally illuminated something.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hi Sam,
    The rays of the sun brightened the dark room. (All three verbs interchangeable.)
    "I feel bad in this room. We need to brighten/lighten it a bit."

    Do those two mean the same thing? Or would rather 'brighten'refer to, say, painting the walls white or fitting a bigger window while 'lighten' would refer to fitting more lamps?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    "I feel bad in this room. We need to brighten/lighten it a bit."

    Do those two mean the same thing? Or would rather 'brighten'refer to, say, painting the walls white or fitting a bigger window while 'lighten' would refer to fitting more lamps?
    They can both mean the same thing, but "lighten" does not work as well when referring to illumination (lamps or sunlight) as when referring to paint or color. And to refer to intensifying a color rather than merely increasing its luminance, "brighten" fits much better than "lighten".
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    So again, speaking of a dark room, which of the two verbs, i.e., 'brighten' and 'lighten' will fit in these situations:

    1. Fitting a bigger window so as to let in more light
    2. Painting the walls white
    3. Fitting more lamps
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    My choices:

    1. Brighten.
    2. Lighten or brighten.
    3. Brighten.
    Thanks Forero. Interestingly enough, a Brit preferred a different choice. :) Might that be a BE/AM thing or just a personal preference? He said:

    1. Lighten
    2. Brighten
    3. Lighten or brighten would both work for me


    And still another native speaker said:
    In any of the three examples, I think that either word would be understood and not sound particularly odd.
     
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