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I'm writing a sentence where pale gray morning light is being viewed through window blinds. I'm trying to think of a way to describe its entrance without sounding cliché. What are some good verbs to use for how light moves?

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    There really aren't any, except shine and its ilk, which refers to bright light as a phenomenon attracting and distracting vision. Normally, languages take light and air and gravity for granted and save lexical entries for the things they determine, like visible, dim, wind, up/down. Of course, there's always metaphor, and that's what we resort to when the words fail. – John Lawler Mar 22 '14 at 16:05
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    You may want to narrow this down by showing some of your own attempts. Otherwise this is too broad and is a request for creative writing assistance. – Canis Lupus Mar 22 '14 at 17:24
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is asking for writing advice. Try Writers.SE. – Tim Lymington Mar 22 '14 at 18:24
  • 'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow. – Canis Lupus Mar 22 '14 at 20:34
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    Maybe: "The light of gloaming plodded into the room like a gut-shot sloth looking to down one last beer before its inevitable demise." – Wayfaring Stranger Mar 23 '14 at 12:54

10 Answers 10

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The verb shift in one of its forms might be suitable. "Shifting light", "the light shifted", ...

You could also use wove or weaved, as in "As the light gently wove its way through the blinds ..."

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permeate might fit.

v. ~ to pass into or through every part of: sunshine permeating the room

Example: The morning light permeated the room through the window blinds.

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The word glint is is nice and pithy. Light also could gleam or glare, sparkle, glimmer, or shimmer.

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The early pale morning light spilled into the room
The early pale morning light filtered into the room
The early pale morning light slipped through the blinds

Morning light spilled has 2,010 results in Google books. Morning light filtered earns a respectable 13,200 results, whereas morning light slipped gains only 264 results. If the OP is looking for an expression which is not clichéd, slipped is a worthy candidate.

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I think you could use the verb refract in your context.

(of water, air, or glass) make (a ray of light) change direction when it enters at an angle.

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Since the light is coming through blinds, the best word is probably slant. You might say The light slanted down through the blinds and made strip patterns on the floor... or some such thing. That's assuming they're horizontal blinds, of course.

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In addition to the above, light also illuminates, radiates, enters, brightens, dapples, floods, trickles, streams, seeps, pours.

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The dim light announced itself in broad lines that slowly crawled down the wall, inching nearer to where they slept.

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To a physicist, light moves either as a particle or as a wave; but that doesn't really help you much unless you want to use some aquatic metaphor.

You could go all-out with metaphor like Homer with "Dawn's rosy fingers", but maybe that sort of thing is cliché.

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enter image description here What do spins do?

  1. make you dizzy
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