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Home > Language > Words > Explain and Describe Compared

Difference Between Explain and Describe

Explain vs Describe

Explain and Describe are two verbs that are often confused when it comes to their usage. As a matter of fact there is some difference between the usages of both the words.

Explain is a verb that cannot be used with two objects. It is wrong to say ‘he explains him something’. On the other hand it is correct usage when you say ‘he explains something to him’. Thus it is understood that ‘explain’ is a kind of verb that cannot be used with two objects. On the other hand it is also a verb that is often followed by the preposition ‘to’ immediately after an object. This is an important observation when it comes to the usage of the verb ‘explain’.

In the same observe the two sentences

1. I explained my problem to my teacher.

2. I explained my teacher my problem.

The first sentence is the correct one when it comes to the usage of the verb ‘explain’. On the other hand the second sentence is a wrong one when it comes to the usage of the verb ‘explain’.

On the other hand the verb ‘describe’ suggests the detailed elucidation of the points or salient features of an event or an episode and the like. The word ‘explain’ is all about going into details. On the other hand the word ‘describe’ is all about elucidation of features. This is the main difference between the two words, namely, explain and describe.

The noun form of the two words also differ in the sense that the noun form of the verb ‘explain’ is explanation whereas the noun form of the verb ‘describe’ is description. It is interesting to note that the noun forms of both the verbs are followed often by the preposition ‘of’ in the formation of expressions, namely, ‘description of’ and ‘explanation of’.


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