Use the adjective "bright" to describe a situation in which there is a lot of light:

bright sun

  • It’s a very bright day. He needs his sunglasses.
  • My office is bright during the day.
  • We painted our kitchen bright yellow.
  • If the lights are too bright, you can turn them down.

You can also use the word "bright" to describe a person who is intelligent:

a bright young man

  • Jacque is a bright young man. He’s always thinking up new ideas.
  • The students in our class came up with some bright ideas on how to address global warming.
  • The people at that company are very bright. They have invented many new products.
  • You have a bright future ahead of you. (A "bright future" is a good future. We use this expression when describing talented young people.)

The word "bright" is also used with sarcasm. The opposite meaning of "bright" is intended in these examples:

  • That was bright. (That wasn’t smart.)
  • What a bright idea. (That was a bad idea.)
  • Do you have any more bright ideas? (Your idea failed.)

The word "brighten" is a verb. To brighten something is to make the quality of the color lighter or bring more light into an area:

  • The sun coming through the windows brightens the whole room.
  • You can brighten your teeth with whitening strips.
  • A little bleach will help brighten white shirts.

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This page was first published on June 15, 2012. It was updated on February 13, 2016.