Explain vs. Describe

By Jaxson

  • Explain

    An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context, and consequences of those facts. This description of the facts et cetera may establish rules or laws, and may clarify the existing rules or laws in relation to any objects, or phenomena examined. The components of an explanation can be implicit, and interwoven with one another.

    An explanation is often underpinned by an understanding or norm that can be represented by different media such as music, text, and graphics. Thus, an explanation is subjected to interpretation, and discussion.

    In scientific research, explanation is one of several purposes for empirical research. Explanation is a way to uncover new knowledge, and to report relationships among different aspects of studied phenomena. Explanation attempts to answer the “why” and “how” questions. Explanations have varied explanatory power. The formal hypothesis is the theoretical tool used to verify explanation in empirical research.

  • Explain (verb)

    To make plain, manifest, or intelligible; to clear of obscurity; to illustrate the meaning of.

    “To explain a chapter of the Bible.”

  • Explain (verb)

    To give a valid excuse for some past behavior.

  • Explain (verb)

    To make flat, smooth out.

  • Explain (verb)

    To unfold or make visible.

  • Describe (verb)

    To represent in words.

    “The feeling is difficult to describe, but not unpleasant.”

    “The geographer describes countries and cities.”

  • Describe (verb)

    To represent by drawing; to draw a plan of; to delineate; to trace or mark out.

    “to describe a circle by the compasses;”

    “a torch waved about the head in such a way as to describe a circle”

  • Describe (verb)

    To give rise to a geometrical structure.

    “The function describes a very complex surface.”

  • Describe (verb)

    To introduce a new taxon to science by explaining its characteristics and particularly how it differs from other taxa.

    “The fungus was first described by a botanist.”

  • Describe (verb)

    To distribute into parts, groups, or classes; to mark off; to class.

  • Explain (verb)

    make (an idea or situation) clear to someone by describing it in more detail or revealing relevant facts

    “he explained the situation”

    “‘It’s a device of great age,’ the professor explained”

    “they explained that their lives centred on the religious rituals”

  • Explain (verb)

    give a reason so as to justify or excuse (an action or event)

    “I explained about Maureen calling round”

    “he makes athletes explain why they made a mistake”

    “Cassie found it necessary to explain her blackened eye”

  • Explain (verb)

    be the cause of or motivating factor for

    “this would explain why so many adult children still live with their parents”

    “her father’s violence explains her pacifism”

  • Explain (verb)

    minimize the significance of an embarrassing fact or action by giving an excuse or justification

    “they know stories about me that I can’t explain away”

Oxford Dictionary

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