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Why is shone incorrect in this sentence?

The closer I got, the brighter the light shone.

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closed as not a real question by MετάEd, Mahnax, RegDwigнt Nov 7 '12 at 9:37

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Why do you think it is incorrect? –  KitFox Nov 7 '12 at 4:30
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One explanation could be that the problem is with the literal meaning of the text. (The light didn't become brighter, it only seemed to become brighter.) Then the correct answer would be to replace shone with something like looked. –  Mr Lister Nov 7 '12 at 6:21
    
Good point, Mr Lister. Another possibility is "seemed to be" or even "was". Brightness is both absolute and relative. I don't think there's anything incorrect about saying that the stars are brighter in the country than they are in the big city, even though they only seem to be brighter. Their brightness is relative to environmental conditions and distance. –  user21497 Nov 7 '12 at 8:35

2 Answers 2

It's not grammatically incorrect. Its meaning is slightly different from what you most likely intend. How brightly a light shines does not depend on how the light is perceived — rather it's the other way around. So to say

The closer I got, the brighter the light shone.

seems to me to imply that somebody was controlling the light, watching you get closer, and increasing the intensity of the light as you did so.

I think what you mean is

The closer I got, the brighter the light seemed.

This means that the light appeared to shine more brightly; but this was just because you were closer, not because the intensity had increased.

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3  
On the other hand, the light may have become brighter as the observer approached it, for entirely independent reasons. –  Barrie England Nov 7 '12 at 9:02
    
Using became would cover both objective and subjective brightness. –  Andrew Leach Nov 7 '12 at 9:14

Why is "shone" incorrect in this sentence?

It's not.

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