Whether you want to say “dimly lighted” or “dimly lit,” both phrases are correct. What will determine which one you use, however, will be the form of the past tense verb, “to light.” The word, “dimly” in both cases is an adverb, which describes the verb.
“Lighted” or “lit” are both past tense forms of the verb, “to light.” However, “lighted” is the past participle whereas “lit” is the simple past tense.
Past Participles; “Lighted”
Past participles can serve a few different functions in English grammar. The most common way is when it’s a conjugation. But, it can also formulate verb tense or be an adjective. Past participles will always end with -ed, -t, -n, -en or -d.
Therefore, “lighted” is the conjugated form of “to light,” utilizing -ed. In the formulation of a verb tense, you conjugate “to have” before “lighted. As an adjective, it will describe a noun. Consider the following examples:
- Conjugated as a Verb: She lighted the stove to make tea.
- Form Verb Tense: She had lighted the stove to make tea.
- Adjective: The lighted stove was hot enough to make tea.
Simple Past Tense; “Lit”
“Lit,” indicates the past action of “to light.” You can also use it for passive voice by conjugating the verb “to be” or “to have” before “lit.”
- As the Past Tense: She lit the stove to make tea.
- Passive Voice: She had lit the stove to make tea.
- Passive Voice: She was lit after adding some whiskey to her tea.
The second example of passive voice above infers metaphor and simile. In this case, “lit” is a comedic euphemism for “drunk.”
Examples of “Dimly Lighted” versus “Dimly Lit”
Now insert the adverb “dimly” to describe the past tense forms of “to light.”
She dimly lighted the stove to make tea.
She had dimly lighted the stove to make tea.
The dimly lighted stove was hot enough to make tea.
She dimly lit the stove to make tea.
She had dimly lit the stove to make tea.
She was dimly lit after adding some whiskey to her tea.
Using either “dimly lighted” or “dimly lit” is correct. The only difference is with how you want to use them in the context of the past. Some of these can be simple to illustrate an action or to emphasize metaphor and simile.