Shined or Shone: What’s the Difference?

Incorrect conjugation of verbs is a pet peeve of many grammatically sensitive English speakers. It can often seem lazy to the point of willful ignorance.

The fact of the matter is that many verbs in English are conjugated in ways that are counter intuitive. These verbs make it difficult for a person who is learning English to master the language. When even native English speakers use past tense incorrectly, the picture gets even murkier for language learners.

To complicate matters even further, some verbs change depending on whether they have a direct or indirect object, or no object at all. Shine is an excellent example. It is conjugated sometimes as shined and sometimes as shone.

Read on to find out whether you should be using shined or shone in a given context.

What is the Difference Between Shined and Shone?

In this article, I will compare shined vs. shone. I will use each conjugation in a sentence example to illustrate their proper usage. Plus, at the end, I will show you a useful trick to help you decide whether shone or shined is correct for your writing.

When to Use Shined

Shine versus ShoneWhat does shined mean? Shined is the past tense of to shine, which means to emanate light or to excel. Shined can also mean polished.

Shined is a transitive verb, which means the action is being done to something or someone else. In other words, a transitive verb is one that has an object.

See the following sentences for examples.

  • The car detailer shined the paint.
  • Andy shined the shoes of all the other employees at the city hall.
  • In front of them, police officers and detectives shined flashlights on the street and sidewalk in front of the two-story orange brick home. –Chicago Tribune

When to Use Shone

Definition of shined definition What does shone mean? Shone, unlike shined, is an intransitive verb. Intransitive verbs have no object, which means that the action is being done by someone or something, but not to anything or anyone else.

Shone carries the same meanings as shined and is also in the past tense. Here are some examples of shone in a sentence,

  • The moon shone brightly that night.
  • When she finally earned a full time job, Esmerelda shone, delivering more pizzas per hour than any other employee.
  • The tonal-atonal split in classical music, embedded in Cold War cultural politics, no longer seemed urgent, and the values that shone from such mid-century scores as “Appalachian Spring,” the Clarinet Concerto, and “Fanfare for the Common Man”—clarity, optimism, and impregnable craftsmanship—were hugely attractive. –The New Yorker

Phrases with Shined and Shone

The conjugation shone is sometimes paired with the prepositions on, forth, from, etc., to form the following phrases,

  • Shone on
  • Shone forth
  • Shone from

The conjugation shined is not used in similar contexts.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define shone and define shinedHere is a helpful trick to remember shone vs. shined.

Shined and shone are both past tense forms of the verb shine.

Shined is used with an object, and is thus a transitive verb. Shone is used with no object present, making it an intransitive verb.

Shone contains the letters N and O. You can use the letters N and O to form the initials of the phrase “no object,” which is the condition under which you would choose to use shone. This mnemonic should help you remember the situations in which to use shone, and by extension, when shined should be used instead.


Is it shined or shone? Shined and shone are forms of the verb shine, which is defined as to emanate light, to excel at something, or to polish something.

Shined is a transitive verb, while shone is an intransitive verb.

You can remember to use shone with no object, since shone contains the letters O and N, which can be rearranged to form the initials of the phrase “no object.”

The distinction between shined and shone is one of the more advanced grammatical questions a language learner is likely to face. Navigating this choice correctly shows skill and determination, and is well worth the effort.

To summarize,

  • Shined is a transitive verb; shined will take an object,
  • Shone is an intransitive verb; shone will not take an object.