This is what the directions say for my new pendant light. Both the (metal) box and the fixture have ground wires. The diagram didn't show how exactly to connect the wire to the ground screw (located on the mounting bracket). Do I wrap part of the ground wire from the box around the screw and then wire nut it to the fixture ground wire? Or does it mean I should connect the fixture & box ground wires and then pigtail to the screw?? Want to do this safely. Any help here is appreciated.

  • We are left using a bit of imagination, where is the ground screw? And what type of box (metal or plastic) do you have? Really you can always pigtail the grounds, but there are often easier ways if a ground wire in the box is long enough to loop around screws. Jul 2, 2020 at 14:33
  • 2
    Sorry. The ground screw is on the mounting bracket and I have a metal box. That's what I'm thinking of - wrapping the ground wire from the box around the screw and then using a marette to connect it with the ground wire from light fixture. Jul 2, 2020 at 14:43
  • Alisha edit your comment into your question and it might get some upvotes like the comment, this plan will be safe because everything is tied together by the maratte or wirenut.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 2, 2020 at 15:05
  • Done. Thank you Ed! New to this site so I appreciate the advice Jul 2, 2020 at 15:09
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    Thank you very much! Will do. Jul 2, 2020 at 15:13

3 Answers 3


That's an excellent question and it can be quite confusing.

If you're using a plastic box, it won't have a ground screw, just connect the two ground wires together.

If you're using a metal box, there will be a ground screw. In this case, your idea will work just fine.

You could also wire a "pig-tail". That would be the ground wire coming in with the rest of the power supply cable, the ground wire from the fixture, and an extra piece of bare ground wire all held together with a wire nut. Then, the other end of the extra wire goes to the ground screw.

Either way you choose to connect to the ground screw, be sure you wrap the wire around the screw clockwise so that the wire gets pulled into the screw as you tighten the screw. If you wrap it counterclockwise, it will get pushed out from under the screw as it tightens.

  • + for advising clockwise
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 2, 2020 at 15:06

I think the intent of the instructions is to emphasize that the bracket needs a proper ground connection, particularly that the mounting screws even on a metal box don't satify the requirement.

If your metal box is fed by NM cable (Romex) or conduit with a ground wire then the box needs to be grounded too. If the ground from the cable is long enough you can loop around the screw in the box then the bracket, then connect to the fixture ground.

If fed by conduit with no ground in the conduit then you could connect from ground screw in the box to the bracket and on the the fixture wire.

You could certainly pigtail all the connections if the wire is too short.


You attach the ground wire from the supply cable to the metal box. Always.

If the lamp has a metal frame, and the box is metal, it can ground itself through the mounting screws.

Otherwise you’ll need a 3-way pigtail between a pigtail off the box, the supply wire, and the lamp’s ground.

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