“Nelly, can you maybe shed a little light on this?”

English Lesson: Nelly, can you maybe shed a little light on this?

You're in a meeting at work. You're leading a discussion about a project which isn't going well. You don't know what's wrong with the project, so you want to ask one of the people who's working on it.

Nelly, can you maybe shed a little light on this?

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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?

shed light on (a topic)

The phrase "shed light on ___" means to explain or give information about something that people don't know much about.

For example, if there's something broken in your house and you think that your children may have caused it, you can ask them:

The lamp seems to be broken. Can anyone shed some light on what happened?

News stories often use this expression in headlines. For example:

Testimony sheds light on politician's shady dealings

This means that the things that people have said in court ("testimony") has shown some of the dishonest ("shady) things that the politician did.


When people are discussing a problem or situation, they commonly refer to it as "this":

What are we going to do about this?

How long do you think this is going to last?