Yesterday, I commented here on an article in the Washington Post. Unfortunately, I was in a bad mood and also posted comments on the Post‘s web site, one repeating my criticism of the writer’s use of tacitly, and another criticizing another commenter’s use of shined and “Klieg lights“. That was bad manners on my part, and I later posted an apology for the latter criticism. On the other hand, the commenter defended his or her writing, so I feel free to continue the debate here. This was the exchange:
. . . Numerous reporters relentlessly shined Klieg lights on this abomination and shamed every political supporter of the ignorant poseur potus. . . .
I wrote in response,
Shone Kliegl lights.
and the other person replied,
‘Shine’ has two acceptable past tense forms. ‘Shined’ and ‘shone.’ And klieg light is named for the Kliegl brothers, but spelled differently. But thanks for your contribution to the conversation.
Shine does indeed have two acceptable past-tense forms, but they mean two different things. Shined means “applied a shine to”, as in “He shined his shoes.” The only form that means “did what one does with a Kliegl light” is shone.
“Klieg light” is a very common error, but it is nevertheless an error. The Kliegl Brothers Universal Electric Stage Lighting Company produced a variety of lights, but none of them is called a “Klieg light” except by people who don’t know any better.
I hold no brief for Donald Trump, but when one accuses somebody of ignorance, one should be careful not to put one’s own ignorance on display.