Proper usage 'Lit' or 'lighted'

I live in Quebec and as about the only work I am able to get near where i live is teaching English. And the question has been asked what is the correct usage of the words ‘lit’ and ‘lighted’ and can anyone give examples of why one would be more correct than the other.

According to Bartleby’s…

lighted, lit

are both Standard past tense and past participle forms of the verb light. Lit is the only form that can be used for the slang meaning “drunk” (as a participial adjective); otherwise lit and lighted are interchangeable in all senses.

Yes, maybe it’s just that after a time there are things I have forgotten from lack of used lighted just doesn’t seem to come off the toungue properly as in “I lighted the fire” as opposed to “I lit the fire.”

And would the same be true for burned and burnt. My understanding is that there are two distinctly different contexts in which you would use these two words. As in ‘He burnt the boxes’ and ‘He burned his arm.’ Just wondering school was a long time ago and I’m only teaching conversational English to adults so common usage is preferable as they are not wanting to become literists.

The Oxford English Dictionary online defines ‘lit’ as “lighted, illumined” and ‘lighted’ as “kindled, illuminated”. It further equates ‘illumined’ and ‘illuminated’, both meaning either to shed light upon or to set alight. So there is no real difference - you can say “John lighted the match” or “John lit the match” just as you can say “John carried a lighted lamp” or “John carried a lit lamp”. It’s all preference, at least as far as this case is concerned.

I know what you’re talking about, and this has been a pet peeve of mine, too. The first time it bothered me was the title of the Hemingway short story, A Clean, Well Lighted Place. I argued to my prof that it should be “A Clean, Well Lit Place” - I lost my arguement (and made a C on the paper).

Well, so far the consensus seems to favor the two being interchangable, but for my own personal use, I tend to use lighted as an adjective and lit as a verb.

He lit the match.

The room was well lighted.


to each his own

It would have been my guess that “burnt” would be an adjective, as in “Matthew had a burnt arm” and “burned” would be a past tense verb, as in “Matthew burned his arm”.