I don't understand why they say "One by one, the street lights went out leaving us in total darkness." Why there can't be "...the street lights went off..."? I have looked it up in dictionary; "go out" means "stop shining" while "go off" means "stop working". So why there can't be "went off"? Anyone please help me!


1 Answer 1


Went out must come from when lights were candle or gas lighten - this the lights would go out as they couldn't exactly be turned off.

A candle needs to be 'put out' manually or would 'go out' by itself.

Term still applies today with things like power cuts or timed lighting.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.