Turn Off the Lights on Your Way Out
The headline is a non pre-sequitur, whatever the term for that is, but my subject is light, in a way anyway.
My penpal in Taiwan, who is also an English teacher and whose grammar (learned as a second language) is infinitely better than most native Americans, even college graduates, was perplexed when I used the phrase “[tag]lightbulb went off[/tag].”Â She thought it should be “lightbulb came (or went) on.”Â Made sense.
That got me thinking, so I scoured the Internet for about 10 minutes (figuring that was about all the subject was worth) to find the derivation of the phrase, but I failed.Â The best I could conclude was that it derives from the days of those old flashbulbs thatÂ would definitely go off in a flash, thus leading to the phrase “lightbulb went off,”Â indicating a flash of realization.
Anybody got a better idea of the roots of the phrase?Â If you do, please post a comment.