Correct use of the verb ‘Explain’

Different verbs are followed by different kinds of words and structures. There are no simple rules for this kind of problem; therefore it is necessary to learn what kind of structures can follow each verb.

In this lesson, we will learn the correct usage of the verb explain.

To explain is to tell somebody something in a way that helps them understand it better.

  • It is difficult to explain the popularity of these celebrities who are famous for being famous.

Note that the verbs tell and explain are used in different structures. We can tell somebody something, but we cannot explain somebody something. We have to explain something to somebody.

Study the examples given below.

  • The professor told me my options.
  • The professor explained my options to me. (NOT The professor explained me my options.)

Explain can be followed by how/when/what/what etc.

  • Can you explain how this project benefits the community?
  • She could not explain what had happened to her niece.
  • She is battling depression. That explains why she is always unhappy.

Explain can be followed by a that-clause.

  • He explained that he had been ill for a long time.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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