As part of my long-running series on the quirks of the English language, I have been struck by the frequency of the use of the word ‘shined’ in the US in situations where I would have used the word ‘shone’. For example, one frequently hears the sentence “He shined a bright light on topic X” whereas I would have said “He shone a bright light on topic X”.
If you Google the phrase “He shined a bright” you get 2,430 hits whereas you get 5,600 hits for “He shone a bright”, so it would seem that the latter form is more common. But when you look more closely, the ‘shined’ formulation appears in popular contemporary articles while ‘shone’ is found in more niche publications, many of them quite old, such as from the 19th century, suggesting that it is more archaic.
It is not that I would never use the word ‘shined’. I use it when it denotes a certain type of action involved in actually making something shine, as in, for example, “He shined his shoes until it shone brightly.” Is my usage a relic of the British colonial English I grew up with? Would someone who grew up in American never use the word ‘shone’ and instead say “He shined his shoes until it shined brightly”?
Inquiring minds (with nothing better to do) want to know.