“Can you sprinkle some salt and pepper on it?”

English Lesson: Can you sprinkle some salt and pepper on it?

You're grilling a rack of ribs for dinner. Your wife is helping you. She brings the meat out to the grill, but she hasn't flavored it. You tell her to add something.

Can you sprinkle some salt and pepper on it?

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Can you (do something)?

This is a way to ask someone to do something. It's appropriate for:

  • a boss to use with the people who work for him or her
  • a customer to use with a store employee
  • a parent to use with his or her children
  • asking a friend to help you with something

"Can you ___" is more direct than asking "Could you..."

Sometimes a person will include "maybe" in this question:

Can you maybe call him and tell him to meet us there?

Can you maybe turn the volume down just a little?

sprinkle (something) on (something)

"Sprinkling" something means carefully dropping lots of very small pieces of it onto something else.

The most common example of "sprinkling" something is sprinkling spices or herbs onto food:

I sprinkled some salt on it.

You can sprinkle powders, liquids, chopped-up pieces of things, and other items that have lots of small pieces.

salt and pepper

Salt and pepper are two very common spices that English-speaking people often use together. When you're talking about them, the word "salt" almost always comes first. So this is normal:

salt and pepper

"Pepper and salt" is less common.