Suppose it's dark and you see a person/ an object lying on the road or somewhere and you tell your friend " throw light on it". Is this correct? Because the only usage of "to throw light on" I have come across is to explain something.

One more question: Suppose the bedsheet is all crumpled and you have to tell someone to make it even/good (I don't know how to put it) then how do you say it? Can you say "straighten it"?

  • The "explain something" usage is simply using the normal expression as a metaphor. Your usage of it in its functional meaning is entirely correct. Regarding your 2nd question, "straighten the sheets" is a standard usage for this situation. Please note for future reference, don't add a second, unrelated question as this can lead to your post being closed as "too broad"; instead, ask it as a new question. Lastly, you should do some research before you ask here, and include a summary of what you found as part of your question. For further guidance, see How to Ask and take the Tour. :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Dec 12 '18 at 2:48
  • "Throw the light on ..." might be used to request that someone aim a spotlight or some such in that direction. – Hot Licks Dec 12 '18 at 2:51

If you were trying to illuminate an object in the dark, you would say "Shine some light on that." Shine is the most appropriate verb. You could also say "Get some light on that." or "Put some light on that." but both of those would be less natural and less exact than the verb 'shine'. 'Get' and 'put' in that context would mean something like 'Do what you have to in order to illuminate that object.'

"Shine some light on that object" means direct a beam of light onto an object from a lamp or a flashlight.

You would never use 'throw' in that context.

'Throw some light' is a metaphor only used for explaining something. You're not actually throwing light, the way you are actually directing light with the verb 'shine'.

Another metaphor for explaining something or revealing information about something is to 'shed some light'.

Example: "Gentlemen, let me shed some light on this situation. We can't use either of the exits. We're trapped." You can also use 'put some light' in this context.

Another time you would use 'throw' is if you are telling someone else to illuminate something.


"Throw every light you have onto that ship!" "Dump every light you have on that airstrip!"

These are colloquialisms that depend on context. A native speaker would understand that you were not telling him to physically hurl all available lighting devices onto the deck of the ship in question or onto the airfield.

Here's a video that makes fun of this: Pour every light onto that field!


As for your second question, yes, you would say "Straighten that bedsheet."

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