Do younger Japanese people really use 電気をつける to mean "turn on the light"? It sounds like something that your Grandad would say in the times when electricity was new and exciting. I know it's taught in textbooks but they can have a tendency to be somewhat anachronistic. Is it the most common phrase, and if not what should I be saying?

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    You know, we still say 洋服 even though nobody practically wears 和服 today... Jan 25 '16 at 18:01

Yes, it's the most normal way to say it, among young people too.

電気をつける - Turn on the lights
電気を消す - Turn off the lights

If you don't like it then 明かりをつける(消す) is another phrase you could use...

  • I think it's a great phrase. I just worried it might be old-fashioned. Jan 25 '16 at 18:44

Ash's answer is correct. Those phrases are used maybe 95% of the time. The other 5% is business/formal phrasing, using 点灯、消灯

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