Can candlelight be in plural contrarily to light? I am wondering if candlelight can be plural when there is many candles contrarily to light, which is an uncountable word. What's the consensus on this?

  • 10
    Generally we say ‘in contrast to’ rather than ‘contrarily to’. Good question though! May 6, 2021 at 11:43
  • 3
    "Sources of candlelight" might be your best bet. Or just "several lit candles".
    – John Doe
    May 6, 2021 at 15:45
  • "Candle flames" would also work if you intended to refer to that specifically. (It might make things sound a bit over-dramatic or poetical, though.) May 7, 2021 at 13:29
  • If there are many candles, either there is a candelabra, or there are many candle lamps (not candle lights, and not candlelights.) For a "candle lamp", the word "candle" functions as an adjective describing the source of the light - e.g. candle lamp, oil lamp, gas lamp, etc.
    – alephzero
    May 8, 2021 at 13:02

2 Answers 2


Not really, no.

In general, "candlelight" is an uncountable noun, just like "light" is. If you're reading a book by candlelight, it doesn't matter how many candles are generating the light.

However, there is the unit of measurement called "candelas" which measures the brightness of light (in general), and which is approximately equal to the brightness of a single candle's light. There's also the obsolete unit of luminous intensity called "candlepower" (plural form also being "candlepower", as in "this flashlight has a brightness of 50 candlepower").

  • 2
    If someone said there were three candlelights, I would assume there were three candles being used for lighting. So it's certainly understandable. I have no clue whether it is correct, or whether they should say there were three candles. May 6, 2021 at 15:27
  • 20
    @user253751: I would be confused if someone said "there are three candlelights." I would probably ask "What's a candlelight?" or imagine they mean a small electric candle-shaped thing. Normally one would say "there are three candles", or if it needs to be specified, "there are three lit candles." Or to focus on the light: "The power's out but I have light from three candles." May 6, 2021 at 16:22
  • @user253751 being of a scientific bent myself, the phrase "three candlelights" would be received as a request for a light source with an intensity of 3 candelas. A strong searchlight might be 2 million candelights.
    – PcMan
    May 7, 2021 at 14:27
  • I would also think "three candlelights" could mean there are 3 locations where candles can be placed for lighting purposes (even if there are currently no candles there) - similar to "limelights" May 7, 2021 at 15:08
  • I do see people do this. You can google "candlelights" and see many examples.
    – Sayaman
    May 8, 2021 at 15:28

No. To make a lot of light you can have many "lights" (objects that emit light). So the word "light" can be both countable and non-countable, with related but different meaning.

But to make a lot of candlelight, you would have many candles. The countable object is not "a candlelight", it is "a candle".

  • 4
    The term "light" may also be used as a countable noun referring to a particular kind of light, but such usage wouldn't typically extend to "candlelight". The parallel to "these images show how objects look when seen in different lights", however, would be "...when seen in different kinds of candlelight".
    – supercat
    May 6, 2021 at 20:36
  • Could you have many candle lights, then?
    – walen
    May 7, 2021 at 8:44
  • @walen A light typically means a lightbulb or other source of light, such as a torch or an indicator light on a device, or an electric lamp or light fixture in a house. Now, in this usage, candle light could mean a candle, though only one that is explicitly being used as a light (and the space is required, and would be expressed in speech by a delay between the two words to avoid confusion with candlelight). It would be more common however to call a candle in this context simply a light.
    – lukeuser
    May 7, 2021 at 12:54
  • Hm. I would think I have heard "candlelight" used as a synonym for "candle", much like "flashlight" or such. I'll look whether I can find sources. May 8, 2021 at 8:55
  • I could only think of it being used figuratively or as a metonym in that sense.
    – James K
    May 8, 2021 at 8:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .