In CNN, it used "switch out the lights."

According to what I know, it should be "switch off the lights."

I checked the subtitles to confirm I understood it correctly, and I'm right. It says "switch out the lights".

Is it correct to use it?

  • 1
    In informal speech, "switch out the lights" is acceptable. In something prepared, it would be a mistake. Literally, "switch out the lights" means "replace the lights".
    – gotube
    Feb 27, 2022 at 5:05
  • 2
    And it might be a term taken from stage production, i.e., argot. Feb 27, 2022 at 5:33
  • 1
    It may be a mistake.
    – user150280
    Feb 27, 2022 at 6:23
  • In UK English we can brighten a place by putting on or switching on lights and make it dark by putting them out, putting them off, or switching them off. In everyday speech, 'switch out the light' might be understood as meaning 'turn it off'. However, engineers or technicians operating systems such as power grids, railway signalling systems, etc, can use 'switch out' to mean 'disconnect', (a part of the system) so I wonder if @DrMoishePippik may be on to something. Feb 27, 2022 at 8:05
  • 1
    In BrE we change out a part of something, e.g. a component, module, or assembly when we replace it. 'Switch out' is rather American. Feb 27, 2022 at 8:06

2 Answers 2


"Switch out the lights" is just an alternative way of saying "switch off the lights". You will also hear things like "turn out the lights", and "put out the lights". These are common variations. There's no difference in meaning.

They all mean to flip a switch in order to turn off the light.

I think it highly unlikely in the context of your example, but in some case "switch out" can also mean to exchange one thing for another, and there may be some technically distinct terminology when it comes to electrical engineering (but I'm not qualified to answer that).


There is a difference between 'switch out the lights' and 'switch off the lights'

switch out= to remove something from an electrical circuit to turn it off. (It also means 'disconnect'.)

Switch out the lights. or Switch the lights out.

switch off=(turn off)= to stop a device powered by electricity

Switch off the lights. or Switch the lights off.

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